More than 18 million American women are living in poverty as of 2014; 40 percent of America’s 565,000 homeless people are women; and as of 2017,219,000 American women are incarcerated. That’s a lot of women struggling to afford and access feminine hygiene products. Additionally, girls are missing school because of their periods, and women on SNAP benefits are skipping meals to pay the “luxury” sales tax on tampons. This inaccessibility has consequences even more far-reaching even than discomfort, indignity, and lost opportunity; it can also lead to increased risk of cervical cancer and infections, according to research conducted in developing countries.
Male representatives’ discomfort talking about periods has real-world costs—and women are paying.
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