One in five girls have missed school due to not having period protection. Seventeen million women who live in poverty have to choose between good hygiene and food. Girls and women who do not have adequate sanitary supplies either go without, reuse the same pad or tampon, or try and use only one tampon or pad for a day. They run a higher risk of cervical cancer, infections, and stress, depression and anxiety. Women and girls who cannot afford feminine products are forced to use socks, dishrags, or newspapers instead. Some of those who are homeless or in extreme poverty have no access to showers or laundry facilities and face shaming and humiliation.
Girls who are in school but lack sanitary supplies and stay home from school are on average 143 days behind their classmates in their education.
Though the FDA considers tampons and pads to be a medical item, WIC and SNAP see them as luxury items. In fact, SNAP classifies them in the same category as dog food, alcohol and cigarettes.