From puberty to menopause, a woman will menstruate for up to 3,000 days – this equates to an incredible 8.2 years over the course of her lifetime!
It’s an outrage that every day several hundred million women and girls in the world’s poorest communities are prevented from participating fully in society because of their period.
Not being able to afford or have access to adequate, effective, and safe menstrual products can hold women and girls back and significantly reduce their quality of life. This situation is made more difficult for many women, who must also navigate the layers of taboo and stigma that shroud menstruation.
Many school-age girls in some of the world’s lowest income communities will be absent up to 20% of the time due to a lack of access to adequate menstrual products. Studies show that those who manage to attend whilst on their period often lack confidence and struggle to concentrate in class.
Illustrations by Jennifer Hines
We also know that some of the traditional or improvised methods commonly used in some parts of the world instead of pads, tampons, or cups (such as cloth, mattress stuffing, feathers, animal hide, bark or newspaper) can be unreliable and uncomfortable, and have been known to cause health problems including rashes, irritation, or infections.
Over the course of her lifetime a woman will use up to 12,000 pads, tampons or other disposable menstrual products. This amounts to an astonishing quantity of waste, to be precise: 150 kilograms per woman, or enough to fill two mini buses.
Due to the plastic content of disposable pads and some applicator tampons typical menstrual waste can take 500 years to biodegrade if sent to landfill. In some places the waste is burnt or ends up polluting oceans, rivers or other water sources.
Across the world, including in the UK and other affluent societies, there is a stark lack of awareness about menstrual cups and their benefits. The vast majority of people have no idea that cups exist, let alone that they are reusable and last for 10 years. We are determined to do our bit to change this.
We believe that raising awareness about menstrual cups and making them more widely available will benefit everyone in our communities.