Thank you to Always and Dollar General for sponsoring this important conversation about ending period poverty. All opinions are my own.
Did you know that nearly 1 in 5 American Girls have either missed school or left early because they didn't have access to the products they needed to manage their periods? This causes them to miss classes, after-school activities, sports, and other important opportunities to grow. That’s why, this back to school season, Always is partnering with Dollar General to #EndPeriodPoverty. From now until September 8th, any Always product bought in a Dollar General store will trigger an additional donation of products to a Feeding America location.
At puberty, a girl's confidence drops and having to miss school because of lack of access to period products only makes that drop in confidence worse. This then starts a vicious cycle. They miss classes and get behind in school work. They miss out on activities like sports and clubs and that basic socialization that helps to build her confidence and skills. This can limit a girl's potential and the effects can last far beyond puberty.
Now, let me tell you a very personal story. A story I just told my mom the other day nearly 30 years after it happened.
I started my period early. Very early. It was the summer before my 5th-grade year. I started a new school, I had to make new friends, I had breasts, I was going through puberty and I had a period.
I knew the basics of how to use a pad and even a tampon. But I was new to it all and only 10 years old at that. I did not know when my period was coming, so I didn't know that I should bring supplies from home to be prepared.
So one day, in class, I felt…wet.
My period had started. In the middle of long multiplication. Lucky for me, we wore uniforms, and my skirt had a dark maroon pattern that sort of hid anything.
But I was wet. I asked to use the restroom and jumped up trying to hide my skirt.
Once in the bathroom, I spent maybe 15 -20 minutes trying to rub the stain of blood out of my skirt so that so one would know. I was so ashamed. I had stuffed tissue down my underwear because I had no pads. My teacher came in the bathroom and asked in a very stern voice what was on my skirt. I hesitated but broke down and told her. She told me to go home sick. I signed out and walked home ashamed.
I missed the rest of school that day. Because I didn't know my period was coming. No one had pads at school, and I didn't have pads with me. I was one of the lucky ones though, my mother had lots of supplies at home. I just had to ask for more. And after that one time, I always kept a spare pad in my bookbag, just in case.
But, not all girls in America are lucky enough to have that extra pad in their book bag. That is why, this back to school season, Always has teamed up with Dollar General to #EndPeriodPoverty.
Because this is happening friends. Right here in our country. Period poverty isn't just someone else's problem, it is happening right here in our own communities, right in our backyards. But there is something you can do to help! Use the #EndPeriodPoverty on social media to raise awareness and get involved in the conversation. And make sure to make a visit to your Dollar General store to pick up an Always product and help girls in need.