For many girls across Africa, getting their period means staying home from school, exposure to negative social stigma, and the risk of significant health issues all because they don’t have access to safe sanitary products.

Period poverty is a global issue, which affects mensutrators who don't have access to safe, hygienic period products or who can't manage their periods with dignity — because of stigma, or a lack of menstrual education, or proper hygiene facilities.

And, as highlighted by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), period poverty can have lasting consequences on a menstruator's education and economic opportunities, as well as exacerbating existing vulnerabilities.

While global data on period poverty and its impacts are lacking, one widely cited statistic attributed to UNESCO says 1 in 10 girls in Africa miss school because they don't have access to menstrual products or because there aren't adequate toilets to use at school. Others will drop out of school altogether.

Women and girls across the continent already experience discrimination based on gender across all areas of life, and taking care of their menstrual health and hygiene — a perfectly normal part of life — simply shouldn't be yet another discrimination to be faced.

The good news is that across the continent (and around the world) there are a great many activists and advocates working to raise awareness on period poverty and how it affects women and girls in Africa. Here are just some of these activists and how, in their experience, period poverty is impacting the lives of women and girls across the continent.

  1. Period poverty can expose young girls to infections
  2. It can lead to a spike in early pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and STDs
  3. In South Africa, adolescent girls miss up to 5 days of school per month due to menstruation.
  4. Girls are led to believe they and their periods are unclean

Read the full article about period poverty by Tife Sanusi at Global Citizen.