Today, 76% of women and girls in Lebanon suffer from difficulty in accessing menstrual products due to the sharp increase in prices resulting from the economic crisis and the collapse of the Lebanese currency.
A national statistical study carried out by Fe – Male in partnership with “PLAN international” sheds light on the reality of “Period poverty” in Lebanon. The study shows that 41% of women and girls from Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian communities stated that they reduced the quantities of sanitary pads they used during their menstruation or relied on using the same pad for a longer period of time, because of the crisis.
Alia Awada, Co-Director of at Fe-Male, says, ” unfortunately, Period poverty has become a reality in Lebanon, and it has many negative impacts and direct damages on the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls. Noting that this issue has a direct negative impact on women’s dignity and leads to their increased sense of insecurity during menstruation”
This study comes within the framework of a national campaign launched by the two organizations under the title “#Nashftolna_dammna ” to raise the voice about the negative effects of period/ menstrual poverty and its repercussions on women and girls in Lebanon and to stress the importance of finding long-term solutions by the Lebanese government and key stakeholders.
Awada refers to the need to confront the culture of marginalization of women’s needs during their period. Period poverty is considered to be superfluous in contexts rife with socio and economic crises where the rights of women and girls, as well as their mental and physical health, becomes secondary. She continues pointing out the importance of integrating all efforts to raise awareness as to the right of women and girls to access personal hygiene supplies particularly pads and to support their demand for this right.
Lama Naga, the manager of sexual and reproductive health and rights programs at Plan International, added that: “The deteriorating situation in Lebanon and its negative impact on adolescent girls and women is a big concern for Plan international/ especially with the increasing number of women and girls who are using unsafe alternatives to sanitary pads. This poses a real threat to the sexual and reproductive rights and health of adolescent girls and women. Menstruation is not an option but a biological reality and access to the products of the menstrual cycle is a human right.”