The COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken a severe toll on the economy, has only worsened period poverty for the most vulnerable girls and nonbinary youth who menstruate, says Dr. LaToya Clark, Medical Director at Women in Training (WIT) and an obstetrician-gynecologist at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, Alabama.
One in five American teens struggle to afford menstrual hygiene products like pads and tampons, and one in four have reported missing classes due to a lack of access to sanitary items. With so many people already living paycheck to paycheck, sanitary products aren’t likely to be high on their list of essential items — but that doesn’t negate their value or necessity.
In mid-March, Business Insider reported that Amazon was out of stock of major tampon brands as well as most lesser-known brands, with wait times that ranged from one to several weeks. While some nonprofits were flooded with calls requesting donations for period products when buyers found none remaining on store shelves; prompting many frustrated women to take to social media to blast their fellow shoppers for hoarding essential supplies.