The hard truth of period poverty

By Nurin Najmina Zaidi

GOMBAK, 3 April 2021: The issue of period poverty had already existed for a long time yet the problem remains unsolved due to misconception and stigmatisation.

The “NOTHING TO HAID: On the Hard Truth” webinar was held to help and to understand more on the issue of period poverty for female students.
The speaker, Jannatun Nisa Jahasnum, was a graduate research assistant and a master’s student in Human Sciences (Sociology and Anthropology). Her thesis “Menstrual Hygiene Management of Urban Low Income Adolescent in Klang Valley” is part of the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme under Dr. Fatimah Al-Attas around 2019. It is also something that makes her wanting to know more about the subject matter. 

Jannatun explained period poverty and also touched on the elements that contribute to it such as menstrual product management like pads and tampons, no access to the wash facility, the lack of knowledge on period poverty, and the ability to manage menstruation with care.

She also mentioned that there was not enough data nor research to know how many women were affected in Malaysia because of period poverty as it was still considered a taboo.

“What we know is that when the pandemic happened, a lot of people lost their source of income resulting in not enough food supply. If there is no food supply for them, the same goes for the menstrual product,” Jannatun pointed out.

She further said that the period poverty issue exists for a long time either in undeveloped countries like India or even developed countries such as America and the United Kingdom. And the main cause of this issue is the low-income problem.

“As long as there are people who have low income, the issue on period poverty will keep continue,” she highlighted.

Not only that, Jannatun shared her experience where she interviewed a few people. She found out that there is an unhealthy culture among the people, especially the Malays where men do not want to know about menstruation because they consider it as something that needs to be concealed. This is one of the factors why fewer people talk about the issue.

Furthermore, she explained about female students who are affected because of the issue.

“How period poverty can affect female students is that some of them decided not to go to school not only because of lack of sanitary pad, but also the bad condition of the washing facility.”

Jannatun provided suggestions for the university administration to help female students.

One of them is to provide a comfortable washing facility. She urged the participants to know more about period poverty among them so that people would know what they need to provide.

She hoped that more people would join in the period poverty discussion and called for more research on the subject in Malaysia.

The Facebook live session held on Friday (2 April), began at 9.00 p.m and ended with a question and answer session from the audience. ***

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