Belgium champions fight against menstrual poverty

Belgium’s federal government is providing a 100,000-euro grant to the Flemish Women’s Council in order to tackle menstrual poverty.  Recent research conducted by Caritas Vlaanderen discovered one in eight Flemish women don’t have the cash to pay for tampons and sanitary pads.

Despite the recent cut in VAT on sanitary products prices are often still too high for women who are struggling.  The term ‘menstrual poverty’ was coined to describe when sanitary pads become a luxury.

Menstrual poverty is a social ill that leads to the discrimination of women and young girls.  It can result in their getting behind at school, absenteeism at work as well as health issues.

“A woman should not have to choose between buying food for her children and purchasing sanitary products.  It’s a challenge for social justice and equal opportunities” says Karine Lalieux (Francophone socialist), the Belgian minister against social exclusion.

“Women mensurate 500 times in their lifetime on average.  We’re talking about half the population and we all know that women are more vulnerable when it comes to poverty”

The cash being released to the women’s council and its Francophone counterpart should allow them to identify local needs, increase public awareness, take preventative action and provide sanitary products where the need is greatest.

Top stories