How 'period poverty' has a huge impact on the lives of menstruating people

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 9:18am
Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 9:20am

Demetra Presley
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
Demetra Presley founded Go With The Flow when she saw an unmet need in the community.

It’s called "period poverty." And the most basic definition is a lack of access to menstrual products. So, how does period poverty impact the lives of women and girls?

Demetra Presley is the executive director of Go With The Flow, a nonprofit organization in Phoenix that provides free period products to students and low income and homeless individuals. She says even in 2022, there’s a lack of awareness about this issue because talking about periods is still very much taboo. 

"In the United States as a whole, 1 out of 4 administrators has difficulty affording period products. And 1 out of 5 students in the United States will miss school, whether that's a complete day or a portion of the school day," she said.

Period poverty can also impact a person’s ability to go to work, she says and it can also impact overall health.

"Because of the things that people will do to create menstrual products when they don't have access to them," said Presley. "We know that it has a negative impact on a person person's emotional health, because of the toll that stress and anxiety can take on them, from worrying about where they're going to get products from, how many products are going to have access to. So this issue is a public health issue in many forms."

Even in 2022, Presley says there’s still such a lack of awareness about periods and period poverty. She says as a society, we’ve become accustomed to not talking about menstruation. 

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