How we can end period poverty in the U.S. together

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Did you know nearly 1 in 5 American girls have either missed school or left early because they didn’t have access to the products they needed to manage their period? This is not something that happens only in poor countries. It’s actually happening here, in our own backyard!  As the mom of two teenage daughters, I’m very sensitive to girls’ needs at this age. That’s why I’ve partnered with Always, to ensure that no girl in the U.S. misses school and loses confidence because she doesn’t have access to period protection.

How we can end period poverty in the U.S. together

Throwback of my daughters and me – Photo: Pezz Photo

My daughters and I are fine now, but ten years ago, we hit a rough spot due to divorce and the Great Recession. I ended up on welfare and found out firsthand how difficult it can be to provide for your kids’ most basic needs. My girls attend a diverse school, with students of all walks of life, and have seen first-hand how some of their peers’ parents can’t afford period protection. They remember what it was like for me not to be able to get them basic things they needed. They understand.

Most girls, however, are too shy to let others know of their situation, and this can make them miss school, which in turn affects their education and even their social life. At puberty, girls’ confidence plummets. Their first period often marks the lowest point of confidence during the teenage years, and having to miss school because of lack of access to period products only makes this drop in confidence worse.

Lack of access to period protection starts a vicious cycle; missing classes, getting behind in school work and missing out on activities, like sports and clubs. These activities help build her confidence and skills, and missing out can limit a girl’s potential and opportunities far beyond puberty.

How we can end period poverty in the U.S. together

My daughters and me today –  Photo: Phillippe Diederich

What we can do to help!

It’s easier than we may think to make a difference in the lives of young girls in the U.S. Here are three things we can do:

  1. Join the conversation and help end the stigma around periods and lack of access – so that girls who need products are confident enough to speak up and we can work together to find a solution. Talk to young women you know, to your own daughters and granddaughters.
  2. Post a throwback school photo on social media, tagging @Always (@Always_brand on Instagram) and using the hashtag #EndPeriodPoverty, and they will donate additional pads through Feeding America (before August 20th 11:59PM EST).
  3. Buy Always period products for the women in your family, and know that every purchase of Always from July 29th to September 8th will also trigger a donation of product to girls in need.

As women who were once on the receiving end of other people’s kindness, my daughters and I thank you for your help and support!

Did you know nearly 1 in 5 American girls have either missed school or left early because they didn’t have access to the products they needed to manage their period? This is not something that happens only in poor countries. Read to see how you can help us #EndPeriodPoverty. #teens #awareness #socialgood.

Lorraine C. Ladish

Bilingual and bicultural Latina editor, writer, speaker, online influencer and mom. Founder of Viva Fifty! Published author of 18 books. Her forthcoming title Your Best Age will be released by HarperCollins in September of 2017.