There is no such thing as period poverty. Period.

If the media says it, it must be true. Right?

Kidscan have released a survey which the eager headline writers have latched on to with glee.

The survey was done using Survey Monkey. This means that people were invited in some way to participate so it is not a representative random sample.  Okay, so there were “more than 5,000” responses but 5,000 possibly biased responses do not make it an accurate representation of the population of New Zealand. Quote.

Overall, 6% of respondents said they were currently struggling to afford sanitary items. Of those:
● 84% had had to prioritise other items such as food over buying sanitary wear.
● 65% said they had missed school or work due to a lack of access to sanitary wear. end quote.

It would appear that the actual number of women in this (possibly) biased, unscientific survey that cannot afford sanitary items is just over 300 – 6%, not “one in four” and not “one third”.

Of the 15-17 age group (27 % of the number polled) the result was that 7% (about 95) were “struggling frequently to afford sanitary items.”
The headline statistic in the Kidscan report was:

● 53.1% said they had found it difficult to access sanitary items due to cost at some point (8.6% frequently, 44.5% occasionally). End quote.

So 8.6% frequently found it too costly, again not one in four or one third. 44.5% said “occasionally”.  Presumably “occasionally” does not mean “once a month” so what is “occasionally”?

But hang on. A quick look at the website of The Warehouse shows that sanitary products are, indeed, dirt cheap.

Families can’t afford $2 for a pack of 10 pads?

Do these teenagers have mobile phones? Do they have computers? Do they buy soft drinks and pies at the local dairy?

Here is another extract from the survey that is meant to give us all bleeding hearts:

The stories shared by 1300 of the respondents included:

“Too expensive and often babies nappies and formula came first. Have used a disposable nappy more than once at night.”
“We had to use a pad for an entire day to make them last and not go out for fear of leakage.”
“Single mama. Bills to pay food to buy. Can only afford to buy when they are on special.”
“I have to sacrifice a day or two of food to be able to afford what many call ‘a female luxury’”
“It’s a luxury item for us, and our kids come first… I’ll just fold a length of loo paper”
“Condoms are given out like confetti but why not menstrual items?”
“When my daughter got her period I made sure she got pads and I had no money left when it was my turn.” End quote.

A few comments on this:

Disposable nappies are much more expensive than sanitary pads from The Warehouse. Ever thought of cloth nappies for the baby?

Can only afford to buy when they are on special. At $2 for a pack of 10, how ‘special’ do they have to be?

“I have to sacrifice a day or two of food to be able to afford what many call ‘a female luxury’” For a $2 pack of 10 you have to go 2 days without food?

I’ll just fold a length of loo paper”  We’ve all done that when we’ve been caught out. Hardly the end of the world.

“Condoms are given out like confetti but why not menstrual items?” Oh yes, I’m very tempted to say the obvious, but perhaps I won’t.

What happened to Kiwi ingenuity? Women used to have to manage these things before the advent of the tampon. In those days, women used reusable cloths, and then washed them. If buying sanitary products is a real problem (and I don’t believe it for one second), then how about creating a reusable option? It just requires a little bit of planning and common sense.

I’m sure this is really much more a case of spending priorities. Sanitary pads are far less important than data on the phone.

I’m sure period poverty is a real problem in a lot of African countries. But in wealthy countries this type of campaign is nothing more than a complete con. There is no way I would donate money to a campaign where a little bit of thinking outside the square would solve the problem easily. No bloody way.

  • This post was a collaboration between WH and Christie… because he was afraid the feminazi would come after him if he wrote it. You might have been right, WH… and then there would have been blood on the floor…

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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

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