Our mission

Pandemic Periods is a group of passionate volunteers, activists, media specialists, frontline health workers, and researchers from every corner of the world.

We have come together to ensure that efforts to address period poverty, and support better menstrual health are not forgotten during this pandemic. Our collective includes individuals from different cultural backgrounds, contexts, countries, and creeds, all with the same mission, to fight period poverty through cross-sector collaboration, creative communications, and action-orientated advocacy.

We support early-career individuals to develop their experience in this space, and build skills around writing creative narratives, academic writing, multi-cultural team corporation, advocacy, and virtual events curation.

Together, we want to build an inclusive and supportive network, so we can continue to address the challenges that prohibit menstrual health.

MENSTRUAL HEALTH MATTERS

The Pandemic Periods Collective speaks out about the challenges facing individuals around the world who menstruate, and how Covid-19 is impacting the way they manage they menstrual health as well as their access to period products.
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our generation equality forum commitment

we pledge to drive collective action around Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 to achieve gender equality to empower all women and girls and facilitate efforts that ensure that all girls and women can manage their periods with dignity to achieve SDG 3 of good health and well-being.
800 million women and girls are menstruating each day, yet menstruation is not always recognized as a priority in women’s and girl’s health and wellbeing. Through our global collective, we will continue to raise the visibility of sub-optimal menstrual health, and through creative storytelling and action-orientated advocacy, we will advocate for safe, affordable, and hygienic products, discreet spaces, and hygiene facilities so women, girls, and all people that menstruate can manage their periods with dignity.
Pandemic Periods will commit to advocating for menstrual health to be recognized independently of sexual and reproductive rights – we want multilaterals to have teams dedicated to menstrual health, not just sexual and reproductive health. We also pledge to advocate for menstrual health across the life course, not just for adolescent girls.
We are committed to advocating for girl’s and women’s needs, and their involvement should be integrated into the co-design and execution of advocacy initiatives, interventions, and gender transformative approaches that address menstrual health in the context of COVID-19, and in the future.
We will work with employers around the world to encourage them to adopt gender-transformative policies that will create gender-responsive workplaces that address the needs of individuals that menstruate across the life course.
We will also continue to support young women to gain further experience in this sector, by offering training and exposure to global health, menstrual health, gender equality advocacy.

Pandemic Period Poverty

What is period poverty?

We understand that several terms are used interchangeably within this sector, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.
Our definition of period poverty is based on the Action Aid (2021) definition.
period poverty affects women, girls and people who menstruate all over the world. Access to sanitary products, safe, hygienic spaces in which to use them, and the right to manage menstruation without shame or stigma, is essential for anyone who menstruates.

 

What is menstrual health?

In a recent publication, Menstrual Health was defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in relation to the menstrual cycle.

 

How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting period poverty and menstrual health?

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of millions of people around the world, tested our health systems and exacerbated the structural and social inequalities faced by vulnerable populations.
Although we appreciate that not all individuals that menstruate are women, and not all women menstruate, we also recognise that women and girls are disproportionately affected by pandemics. This is because national lockdowns can indirectly reinforce sexist gender norms. As a result, women are often faced with a double burden of undertaking income-generating work, whilst taking care of dependents. They are at a greater risk of experiencing gender-based violence particularly during lockdowns, where they could be housed with their abuser. Additionally, they can suffer from reduced access to essential services such as maternal health services and sexual and reproductive health services. Women also make up 70% of the health workforceand without adequate access to appropriately design personal protective equipment and period products could face challenges in delivering quality care.
Covid-19 is likely to cause the first increase in global poverty since 1998. The World Bank (2021) suggests that the pandemic will push a further 150 million people will enter extreme poverty by the end of 2021. The harsh reality is that this situation will exacerbate the social determinants that underpin the cycle of period poverty. When household incomes are strained, “luxury” items such as periods products are deprioritised. Research conducted by Plan International highlighted that increased costs of period products, supply shortages, and reduced household incomes, meant that women and girls were unable to manage their periods appropriately. The team at Plan (2020) that surveyed health professionals in 30 countries and 73% said that restricted access to products through shortages or disrupted supply chains is a major issue during the pandemic.
Periods do not stop for pandemics, we have a responsibility to ensure that they do not hamper the efforts of health workers, caregivers, or anyone that is experiencing physical, psychological, or emotional challenges during this pandemic.
All individuals that menstruate have the right to menstrual health. Together, we will aim to address period poverty to support the menstrual health of all individuals that menstruate during the Covid-19 pandemic.