Women in the United States are currently battling the Pink Tax, in which females pay more, by up to 13 percent, than men for women-marketed products. But if you're a low-income woman, it's even worse. Called "period poverty," the effect of being unable to afford costly sanitary products can seep into women's livelihoods.
Scotland is hoping to change this.
On Tuesday, Scotland launched a six-month-long pilot program that would provide sanitary products to 1,000 low-income women, The Scotsman reported. The program was launched by Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE), which is a social enterprise and charity in Scotland.
The targeted participants come from women's health and housing charities and four schools. The program hopes to expand to the whole country.
"It's been quite clear the cost of sanitary products are pricey at the best of times and can be exorbitant for many women who don't have cash to spare," Dave Simmers, the chief executive of CFINE, said to The Scotsman. "The overwhelming reason for women and people in general suffering poverty is the implementation of welfare reform."
Teaching unions in Scotland reported students missing school because of their periods. According to BBC, young girls have resorted to wrapping their underwear with socks or a whole tissue roll because their families couldn't even afford food, much less sanitary products.
The story is even worse in other parts of the world, such as Kenya, where girls have to use rags or newspapers because sanitary pads are so expensive, HuffPost reported.
"Access to period products such as tampons and napkins is a human right for women and girls, a right that is hugely constrained by poverty, stigma, and abuse," Dr. Marsha Scott, the chief executive of Scottish Women's Aid, said, according to The Scotsman.
Hopefully, other countries will follow suit. No woman or girl should have to miss school or a day at work because they cannot afford sanitary products. But that's just what happens all over the world.