Challenges and the stigma faced by girls with no access to sanitary pads

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Phoenix Durban

Many young schoolgirls are faced with challenges when it comes to access to sanitary pads and knowledge about personal hygiene. Photo: Facebook

Facts about the limited education young girls deal with when it comes to access to sanitary pads and knowledge about personal hygiene:
The expense of sanitary pads. Although in South Africa joined the growing list of countries who have zero tax on sanitary pads in 2018, the much-needed item for all women is still quite expensive when considering the widely advertised brand names. A pack of 16 or 18 sanitary pads costs around R40 at most leading shops. Alyson Samson from the Pad Princess project said, “Girls want leading brands, as advertising has built it into them that is the best which is not the case. Most child-headed households would rather use any money they get to buy food – that is why we give out pads.”
Absenteeism from schools. Young girls who don’t have access to sanitary pads because of expenses are normally forced to stay at home during ‘that time of the month’.
Unhygienic ways of using sanitary pads. Education on personal hygiene is very important for young girls especially in the school environment. Most schoolgirls are faced with the challenge of being absent at school on the days they menstruate in the month, which causes poor work performance at school and low self-esteem in front of their peers. Poor menstrual hygiene can also pose physical health risks.
Limited education about the facts of menstruation as well as fears caused by cultural myths plays a big part in the stigma surrounding menstruation.
Related article: 
Sanitary products donation a welcome relief

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