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A Period Piece: How Homeless Women Cope

Selin Kilic October 19, 2016 October 19th, 2016

In this weeks installment of ‘Feminine Hygiene Products Are Not A Luxury Item’ we are here to discuss the pretty obvious problem (but clearly not obvious enough!) of how homeless women deal with getting their periods. Month after month women are required to deal with the hassle that is mother nature, but for homeless women (and trans men) the issue of cleanliness goes far beyond the regular discomforts and inconveniences.

With 50,000 women on the streets nationwide, and the already steady ever-present issue of not having a shower on hand or money to buy ‘extras’, these females come up with a wide variety of coping mechanisms to deal with ‘that time of month’. Ranging anywhere from stealing products, and waiting for outreach crews for these necessities to using non-conventional means like socks, plastic bags, paper towels or toilet paper and more, these women are certainly more crafty and than I would be in the face of this issue.

Although NYC has recently required public schools, jails, and homeless shelters to provide free tampons and pads, it is the first city in the nation to do so. Which is absolutely shocking if you really think about it.

“You shouldn’t have to decide between a pad and having lunch,” said NYC Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. Her office led the push for this legislation, but we are still so far behind in other areas.

Despite this, women are still subjected to health risks as they create makeshift solutions or use these products improperly due to their concerns about shelters safety.

Watch Bustles video installment of NSFWomen here:

As per the Bustle site:

“For the first 250 Facebook shares this video gets, Bustle will donate a pair of period-proof underwear, offered at cost by THINX, to Distributing Dignity, a women-led nonprofit organization that distributes pads, tampons, and bras to women who are homeless.”

Source: Bustle