One in ten Dutch girls can’t afford tampons, sanitary pads

Tampons and sanitary pads
Tampons and sanitary padsPhoto: matka_Wariatka/DepositPhotos

Nine percent of girls and young women between the ages of 12 and 25 in the Netherlands sometimes can't afford to buy tampons or sanitary pads. Because the topic is deemed too shameful to talk about, this results in them resorting to paper towels or toilet paper, cutting back on things like fruit or vegetables, or missing school or work, according to studies by development organization Plan International and feminist platform De Bovengrondse.

Plan International researchers spoke to a thousand Dutch girls and young women in this age group. At the same time, De Bovengrondse researched what it calls 'menstrual poverty' and shame about the menstrual cycle. The results of the two studies were presented together to the Ministry of Social Affairs, with the request to take action, according to reports.

De Bovengrondse also launched a crowdfunding campaign called Het Damesverband, to raise money to buy pads and tampons for those who can't afford it. 

"What makes menstrual poverty different from the bigger problem of poverty is the taboo that rests on it", Plan International researcher Mascha Singeling said "A double taboo: discussing your lack of money is already difficult, and talking about your menstrual period comes on top of that. Some women who need help do not dare to ask for it from, for example, care providers when it comes to their period."

A quarter of the surveyed women said that they do not dare to talk about menstruation at all. Almost half said that they feel dirty while menstruating. Half of the respondents also said that they want menstruation to be discussed more openly in the Netherlands. 

Every day, 800 million girls and women worldwide are on their period.