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Should Sanitary Equipment for Women Be Free? Here’s Why It Matters

Handing over a sanitary pad in a restroom, promoting free sanitary equipment for women.

Access to sanitary equipment is a fundamental necessity for women, yet it’s often treated as a luxury. This disparity has sparked a global conversation: should sanitary equipment for women be free? The short answer is yes, and here’s why this is more than just a matter of convenience; it’s about equality, health, and dignity.

 

Breaking Down Barriers to Equality

Menstruation is a natural biological process, yet women and girls worldwide face significant barriers in managing their periods due to the cost of sanitary products. In many countries, the price of these products is prohibitively high, leading to what’s known as period poverty. Period poverty affects millions of women, forcing them to use unsafe alternatives like rags, newspaper, or even leaves. This not only compromises their health but also their dignity.

Making sanitary equipment free can alleviate this burden, promoting gender equality. When women don’t have to worry about affording basic menstrual products, they can focus more on their education and careers. Free sanitary products in schools and workplaces can ensure that no woman is held back from participating fully in society.

 

Health and Hygiene

Lack of access to proper sanitary products can lead to serious health issues. Using unhygienic materials during menstruation can cause infections, some of which can have long-term consequences. Providing free sanitary products can help prevent these health risks.

Moreover, education about menstruation and access to sanitary products go hand in hand. By ensuring that all women and girls have the products they need, we can also foster better menstrual health education. This combination can lead to healthier habits and reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation.

 

Economic Impact

Critics often argue about the cost of providing free sanitary products. However, the economic benefits can outweigh the costs. Women who don’t have to spend money on sanitary products can reallocate those funds towards other essential needs, boosting their financial stability. Additionally, by ensuring women can attend school or work without interruption, the overall productivity and economic contributions of women increase.

Countries like Scotland have already set a precedent by making sanitary products free. Early reports suggest that this policy has been successful, not only in reducing period poverty but also in normalising menstruation and reducing stigma.

 

Sanitary equipment should indeed be free for women. This move is a step towards gender equality, better health, and economic stability. It ensures that no woman has to choose between her dignity and her basic needs. By prioritising this issue, we can create a more equitable and just society for all.

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