Homeless Women & Their Periods
Being a woman in today’s world is a full-time job. With everyone expecting you to be a superhero--have all the right answers, multitask with everything and never mess up any step of the way--when is there time for a break? Especially when the unwanted “mother nature” comes rolling around the corner with her little monthly gift. You not only have the pressure of everyone around you but to top it all off you have those dreadful cramps too!? Now imagine being homeless as well. Periods aren't exactly pleasant to put up with in the first place, but the hardships and pain of being homeless brings this unwanted inconvenience to a whole new level of unpleasantness. Having a period while being homeless, not having access to private, safe and sanitary bathrooms or being able to change your pad throughout the day is by far more difficult than having a period while being in the warmth of your own home.
The Difficulties of Being Homeless During Your Period
Homeless women not only have the difficulty of figuring out where they can find a safe place to sleep or a hot meal to eat, but also many find that feminine hygiene can be daunting to upkeep. On a daily basis, many homeless people are put into desperate situations. If you're a woman living on the streets, receiving your period is more than just a couple of days worth of misfortune — you are now bleeding through, most likely, your only articles of clothing so now you have to worry about the odor or even bleeding through your clothes and having your blood stains show. From where are you going to get new clothes? Where are you going to wash your clothes? Are you even going to be able to clean yourself?
How Homeless Women Cope With Their Periods
With limited access to pads and tampons, and no consistent or even comfortable place to shower, these women are forced to get creative with ways to keep clean when they have their periods. As previously stated, women are forced to be superheroes and to be perfect. The majority of homeless women use socks, paper towels, plastic bags, toilet paper, towels, cotton balls, or even clothing in place of conventional feminine hygiene products like pads and tampons. Many are left with no choice but to wash each item and sometimes even themselves, daily in the little bathroom sinks they find around their area.
Legislation Regarding Homeless Women & Menstruation
Many of these women have gone through hell and back, fortunately New York City is leading the way in giving homeless women one less thing to worry about; The city is the first in the country to pass new legislation requiring homeless shelters to provide free pads and tampons. This long overdue legislation is something we hope states across the country will adopt for the ease of access to basic necessities for women everywhere.