According to PanParagon app data, the cost of menstrual hygiene products has risen noticeably. However, some believe using toilet paper instead of a tampon is sufficient. Is it?
Menstrual poverty is a serious issue that affects a significant number of women in Poland. According to a report by the Kulczyk Foundation, around 500,000 women in the country struggle with this problem. The report also highlights that 21% of schoolgirls are forced to leave school due to the lack of access to sanitary pads, and 10% do not go to school for the same reason.
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Inflation is a problem affecting everyone and everything, including the cost of hygiene products needed during menstruation. Data from the PanParagon app over the last three years show that the increase in the price of sanitary pads and tampons is alarming. This raises the question of whether we will ever see free sanitary pads provided by the government for free.
Hygiene products getting more and more expensive
PanParagon analysed the receipts uploaded to the app from January to February 2021, 2022, and 2023. The focus was on the prices of essential menstrual items during this time. The results showed that the prices have significantly increased.
For instance, in 2021, 20 sanitary pads cost almost PLN 5 on average, but now they cost almost PLN 7, which is a 37% increase. Tampons have also become more expensive, with an average price of 4.24 zlotys for 32 pieces in the past, and now it costs 5.89 PLN, which is a 27% increase. Sanitary pads, however, have seen the most significant price hike, with a 57% increase.
It's important to note that the prices are averaged, and hygienic products made of safe materials such as cotton are usually much more expensive. For example, YourKaya organic cotton sanitary pads cost almost 19 PLN without discount, and Naturella cotton sanitary pads cost almost 9 zł.
This means that women who want to protect themselves during their periods while also taking care of their intimate areas have to spend even more. While there are cheaper options, such as menstrual cups, not all people with uteruses feel comfortable using them.
When will we get sanitary pads from the state?
Women and individuals with uteruses require sanitary products during their menstrual cycle, and some are unable to afford them. Despite this, men have suggested that women use toilet paper instead of tampons when they complain about the rising prices of sanitary products. However, one tampon is not enough for even a single day of menstruation, let alone the entire cycle.
It is important to note that no one asked to have their period, and it is unfair that some cannot afford the hygiene products necessary to manage it. Basic hygiene products, such as tampons and sanitary pads, should be available to everyone for free. This is not a feminist utopia; Scotland has already taken the lead in providing free menstrual products to all menstruating individuals, including transgender and non-binary individuals.
In Poland, the idea of free hygiene products for menstruating individuals is unfortunately viewed as part of the "LGBT ideology," making it challenging to implement. However, more and more schools and institutions are joining the campaign to provide free menstrual products to those in need, reducing the number of people who have to use sanitary pads during their period despite the high prices.
Source: Ofemin, Różowa Skrzyneczka