Let's talk about menstruation. You might be confused about why we are talking about this in a space designed to uplift candidates. However, policymakers must be knowledgeable about menstruation. Menstruation is a normal part of our bodies, yet menstruators are made to feel ashamed for having it. This shaming is called period shaming.
Period shaming affects menstruators' mental and physical health. This is largely due to period poverty. Period poverty is when people are not able to have a hygienic and safe period. This might be because someone is not able to afford menstrual products or they don’t have the vital education around menstruation, among many other reasons. Period poverty can put menstruators' lives at risk because it may lead them to leave products in for longer than recommended or use unsanitary products. Due to the taboo surrounding menstruation, bleeding through clothes at school exposes youth to psychological abuse from classmates and teachers. It is important to remember the United States is not exempt. Approximately 1/5 of young menstruators will miss school in the U.S. One-half of low-income people cannot afford to buy menstrual products and food. No one should have to choose between a medical necessity and putting food on the table.
Having legislators who are knowledgeable about the harmful effects of period poverty and shaming is vital. The candidates that we support through Run Women Run understand these issues and the intersection of menstruation, education, poverty, and so much more.