Early one morning I was headed off to college like every other day. Two buses later and I arrive at college and realise I have an annoying pain in my stomach. I think it could be hunger so have a cereal bar and ignore it. Next thing I know I’m sitting in class and I think to myself “did I just wet myself?”.
I soon realised that there was a problem, I wasn’t ready, I didn’t know the time was here, it was my period. I asked around for a pad and headed to the bathroom to clean up the mess mother nature has left behind. I sat on the toilet feeling like a bloated slob, bleeding into the toilet I asked myself over and over again “what did women ever do to deserve this?”. Out of frustration and pain I became angry and thought 'how much am I spending to facilitate this pregnancy free punishment?' I came out of that toilet a changed woman, a woman determined to find out how much this nonsense costs.
After college I was meeting a friend and so I stopped into a chemist to stock up. I proceeded to buy everything I was going to need which included, a box of tampons, a packet of pads and a box of painkillers. The total came to € 11.45.
Tampons are currently being taxed at 5% as it is classed as a luxury item. Ridiculous considering Jaffa Cakes and Pita Bread are tax free and seen as essentials apparently. Being a student with a part time job I often find myself really stuck for cash because, as a student, I like to spend what little money I have on bus fares, chicken fillet rolls, cheap cans and cigarettes, so a surprise period truly mixes things up financially.
What I've listed are the essentials for making mother nature feel right at home for your week of hell every month but there are generally additional add-ons; chocolate, other junk food and hot water bottles just to name a few. That’s not to even mention the underwear and bed sheets you'll ruin on a heavy month. So with this gender-specific illness, why is it that we are to pay a tax as if it's a luxury to involuntary bleed at least once a month, making you want to punch yourself in the stomach and cry at television ads (I know I'm not the only one who does this)
1 in 10 women are experiencing period poverty. They are unable or struggling to pay for sanitary products. Women and girls availing of food banks, in direct provision, homeless women and teens are among those heavily affected by period poverty. This is something I'd never really thought of. How many women will be affected by this?
Organisations have been set up in Ireland to try contribute products and financial support to women experiencing these issues. In the grand scheme of life, it seems like a small fee but amounted together it is in fact a substantial expense. Take a look for yourself: 1 Month: €11.45 1 Year: €137.40