Period Poverty Impact on the Economic Empowerment of Women

Helpdesk Query:

To what extent does period poverty (lack of access to sanitary products, WASH facilities, dignity, and information about menstruation) impact on the economic empowerment of women?

Summary:

The aim of this review was to present the recent evidence on the period poverty (lack of access to sanitary products, WASH facilities, dignity, and information about menstruation) impact on the economic empowerment of women. Improving menstrual health management (MHM, also known as ‘period poverty’) can substantially improve girls’ education, health and wellbeing. The literature, as well as experts consulted for this rapid review, confirm that that MHM has an impact on the lives of women and girls, albeit indirectly (expert comment).

Given the shortage of information on period poverty globally, the expected sensitivities around the topic, and the lack of standardised tools and methods (Phillips-Howard et al., 2016), evidence is predominantly provided from qualitative, participatory, and descriptive methods. It is difficult from the qualitative studies to determine the extent to which period poverty impacts any of these outcomes or economic empowerment, or how influential period poverty contrasts with other challenges facing women and girls in the contexts studied.

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