YWCA El Paso del Norte Region is celebrating International Menstrual Hygiene Day!
Friday, May 28th is International Menstrual Hygiene Day. On that day, and the weeks leading up to it, YWCA will attempt to change negative social norms around menstruation by sharing important information and statistics, sharing people’s stories, and accepting product donations for people in YWCA programs. Support us in this work by dropping off items or purchasing some from our Amazon Wish List here.
- Nearly 2/3 of low-income women in the United States struggle to pay for products such as tampons or pads. In these cases, people will substitute menstrual hygiene items with things like toilet paper, rags, cloth, etc., which can result in negative health consequences.
- Menstruation is a normal and natural part of a person’s life and should not be met with embarrassment or shame. How many times have you hidden a tampon or pad at school? At the office?
- YWCA has served people who have experienced homelessness in El Paso for more than 25 years. Our Sara McKnight Transitional Living Center currently provides a home to women and children, many of whom have survived domestic abuse or other forms of violence. Many of our residents left their homes with just the clothes they are wearing and it is not uncommon for them to walk through our doors wearing underwear and clothes that are stained with their menstrual blood after living in emergency shelters or even on the street.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
- Support YWCA residents and participants by donating menstrual hygiene products such as pads, tampons, and period underwear! These are some of our most requested items and we never seem to have enough available.
- You can also make a financial contribution to assist YWCA in purchasing these critical items here.
- Purchase an item from YWCA’s International Menstrual Hygiene Day Amazon Wish List. These items will be shipped directly to our TLC and distributed to residents of that facility, our other housing programs, participants in our Teen Leadership program, and others who need them.
- Drop off new items at any YWCA site! YWCA Gyms and Early Learning Academies will have donation sites for these items throughout the month of May.
What else can I do?
- NORMALIZE talking about periods/menstruation in your family. Don’t hide your pads and tampons behind the towels under the sink so no one else can see them. Leave them next to the extra toilet paper where anyone who lives with you can see them.
- If you are a parent and your child is menstruating don’t whisper, “Do you need a P-A-D?” Just make them available and talk to them as if everything is normal — because it is!
- Be open about this natural, normal process. No matter who you are with, including men who do not menstruate, don’t be ashamed to talk about periods. Why? Because normalizing it for others around you helps reduce the stigma for people around the world. And normalization can lead to fewer health issues and less shame.
- Let’s stop with the period/time of the month jokes, okay? They’re sexist, damaging, and just not funny tbh.
- Do some research! Learn more about the “period tax,” the discomfort and pain some experience, how many children stay at home when they are menstruating, how often do people have to choose between food and menstrual hygiene products?
- Talk to your friends and family! Do you wish things were different or someone had taught you not to hide your period? Share your stories!
- Find your comfort level! Don’t force yourself or others around you to do anything uncomfortable.
Other important data
- Approximately 64% of women struggle to afford period products in the last year. 21% experience this problem on a monthly basis. Almost half had times during the past year when they had to choose between food and period products.¹
- 2/3 of teens feel stress due to lack of access to period products.²
- 1/4 teens have missed class because they lacked access to period products.²
- 80% of teens feel there is a negative association with periods as if they are gross or unsanitary.²
- 42% of women have experienced period shaming.³
- 1 in 5 women have felt period shame due to a comment made by a male friend.³
- 30 states still view period products (you know those things that keep us clean while we are experiencing a natural process?) as luxury items and tax them as so.4