MU helps fight period poverty

Hailey Steidle, Staff writer

Every year during March, the world celebrates the lives and accomplishments of women everywhere in honor of Women’s History Month.

In recognition of women this month, the Mercyhurst Equality of Women (MEOW) Club and Multicultural Student Services, set up a period poverty drive in order to both raise awareness of period poverty and to collect supplies for those struggling with period poverty.

The event was held in the Student Union during the week of March 13-17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. They collected unused and unopened sanitary pads and tampons either in boxes or individually, which would later be donated to the Mercy Center for Women.

The proceeds from this event go directly toward the Mercy Center for Women, which is a local center for resources and housing for the women of Erie.

The Mercy Center’s mission statement reveals a lot about its goals within the community.

They state that they are a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and are committed to enhancing the dignity of each person they serve through the healing of body, mind and spirit.

The organization was founded in 1994 with the main goal of providing long-term transitional housing and support services to the homeless women of Erie, both with and without children.

Mercyhurst’s donations will be going directly to the women at this organization so they will no longer have to worry about what to do every month.

Period poverty affects over 500 million people worldwide every year and 16.9 million people who menstruate in the U.S. alone are also living in cases of poverty.

This form of poverty is often described as a lack of access to a multitude of items that are necessary in order to stay healthy during menstruation.

This lack of menstrual products, hygiene facilities, waste management, education, restrooms and hand-washing facilities is seen in many places and countries worldwide.

Along with a lack of access to these basic necessities, the stigmatization of menstruation worldwide leads to larger numbers of individuals experiencing period poverty as it is less and less spoken of.

Many people do not even know what period poverty is, let alone if they are experiencing it or how to help fight it.

No individual should ever have to worry about how they will afford menstrual products or keep themselves healthy during something that they have no option in opting out of.

As this event concludes and March continues, it is important to look towards how else we can help end period poverty.

We can begin with normalizing menstruation and working to end taboos that seem to revolve around this natural process.

It is also important to work towards making menstrual products, sanitation, and hygiene easily accessible for everybody who may need it.

It is important that, as students, we continue to work towards ending period poverty even amongst our campus.