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(en) Spaine, CNT #432 - Menstrual-poverty By Rakel Sáiz Querendez - GRUPO FEMINISMOS REG. NORTH (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 14 Sep 2022 10:58:39 +0300


The obstacles and differences that women face in their access to socio-health services due to gender issues are notable. The lack of a gender perspective in health care, and the difficulties in accessing basic products for the management of menstruation, seriously harm women's health, especially women with fewer economic resources. ---- The fact of being a woman exacerbates the inequities derived from situations of poverty. The percentages of women with a lack of health care for economic reasons are higher than those of men for all the different typologies: medical, dental, mental health and access to medicines. For example, half of women in poverty have never had a mammogram, not to mention menstrual poverty. ---- Menstruation is directly related to the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls. Therefore, not being able to live it with dignity is a violation of their rights.

What is period poverty?
Menstrual poverty has to do with the lack of access to essential menstrual hygiene products, as well as hygiene facilities, waste management or a combination of these; It means not having access to menstrual hygiene products, but also not having clean water, soap and other essential resources for hygiene and intimate health, and it affects an estimated 500 million women worldwide. It also includes the lack of education on sexual and reproductive health.

Menstruation is directly related to the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls. Therefore, not being able to live it with dignity is a violation of their rights, contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The issue of menstruation and its social impact can be analyzed from multiple perspectives and approaches; his analysis can range from the strictly biological to the political, but poverty is a political issue; and menstrual poverty is a global problem, but those who govern and have governed the world are men, so there has been no room to treat menstrual poverty as a social problem, the maximum exponent of the prevailing androcentrism at the global level.

There are those who think that only women, girls and adolescents from countries and territories at war, with political problems or financial limitations are victims of menstrual poverty, but this is nothing more than a myth. The truth is that millions of women living in "rich countries" like the United States and the United Kingdom suffer from period poverty. and the Spanish state is not an exception.

It is estimated that two out of 10 women in the Spanish state suffer from menstrual poverty, which means having to choose between buying food or feminine hygiene products. In Spain there are thousands of women who cannot afford intimate hygiene products and have to resort to socks, towels, pieces of cardboard, cut-up diapers or toilet paper when they have their period, It also implies using pads or tampons much longer than recommended , anything that soaks the blood and prevents people from noticing the situation.

Because menstruation is still a taboo subject and not having hygiene products has a negative impact on physical and mental health. It causes in those affected low self-esteem, ignorance of their own body, shame, humiliation, stress, anxiety and even depression. Also, physical consequences, cause urinary, vaginal, uterus or tube infections, hormonal problems, difficulty getting pregnant or painful intercourse among others. In addition to the social consequences, such as gender inequality, stigmatization or school absenteeism in girls and adolescents. Menstrual poverty is a lack derived from economic poverty, which has a woman's face.

It is estimated that two out of 10 women in the Spanish state suffer from menstrual poverty, which means having to choose between buying food or feminine hygiene products.

The reality of menstruation, a "private matter" of women, which has been made invisible and stigmatized, a reality that crosses different social factors and which have not been taken into account, economic, cultural, environmental and psycho-emotional aspects. The issue that underlies this historic looking the other way is that the rule only affects women, a true reflection of social reality and the structural gender inequalities that women experience; consequence of the patriarchal, capitalist and sexist system in which we live.

We demand the elimination of extra costs for menstrual hygiene products and we demand the elimination of VAT; it is absurd to pay 10% VAT for sanitary napkins, while Viagra is only taxed at 4%, and is considered an essential item, a clear example of the androcentric vision that dominates our society and that does not take into account the needs more basic than half of the population. We demand the guarantee of access to the necessary menstrual hygiene products, as well as access to sexual and reproductive education with a gender perspective for all women, regardless of their social and economic background.

Essential elements to guarantee the management of menstruation in decent conditions and that do not pose a risk to the health of thousands of women.
We are committed to eliminating taboos around menstruation and making bleeding visible as a natural physiological fact, in addition to raising awareness of diseases related to menstruation and silenced such as endometriosis. We also do not forget the right of women to request and access care for the interruption of pregnancy in the services of the health system in order to exercise their right to legal, safe and free abortion.

It is also added that gender bias crosses and affects health care and is seen, among others, in gynecological paternalism, in the management of cesarean deliveries (above the WHO 15% limit) and obstetric violence, in addition of differences in the delay and waiting for health care and different prescription and consumption of drugs.

The issue that underlies this historic looking the other way is that the rule only affects women, a true reflection of social reality and the structural gender inequalities that women experience.

In relation to issues that only affect us and our bodies, such as menstruation, pregnancy, lactation and menopause, patriarchy displays stereotyped concepts that downplay their scope as biological processes, or they amplify their impact by distorting them and converting them into a justification and legitimation of multiple discriminations with costs not only economic for us but for what concerns our health. An entire androcentric imaginary has been built that not only feeds but also produces job insecurity, salary discrimination, and sectorialization.

We women demand quality, comprehensive, universal healthcare, with a gender perspective, that is equipped with all the necessary resources and that is within the reach of all, healthcare adapted to all needs and accessible to all women, that guarantees our right to health.

Class belonging permeates our gender condition, aggravating the state of our health and translating into power imbalances threefold: against other women whose subsistence does not depend on work and who have better and greater access to health care; in front of men; and, against the bosses and all state organizations, which act in collusion ignoring our rights.

Class and gender are articulated in favor of psychological reductionism and reproductive reductionism that we have not chosen, that is imposed on us, that mistreats us and that provides great benefits to capital and to those who accumulate it.

This necessary and urgent fight against the feminization of poverty, the precariousness of health and the poverty of time that women suffer to the detriment of our well-being and our lives can only take place through combative trade union organization, which has to do in the face of gender and class inequalities, which condemn us to lose our health and our right to a dignified life.

It is a question of universal health, social justice and social responsibility. From CNT we claim the right to health for all women. It is a collective work, which requires ending the model of capitalist, androcentric and patriarchal society.

https://www.cnt.es/noticias/pobreza-menstrual/
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