As the cost of living is increasing, attention is being turned on governments to assist people with the expensive prices of energy bills and food supplies. An essential product that over half the population requires monthly are period products such as tampons or pads. These products are taxed in many European nations as luxury items, and their prices are so high that many are struggling to afford them.
This struggle is known as period poverty, where people cannot afford to buy the products required while menstruating. Rates of period poverty are increasing throughout Europe, with approximately ten percent of menstruators experiencing period poverty.
The Brussels’ government’s recent implementation of a trial of free period products across six schools makes it only the second region in Europe and the UK to provide free period products in any capacity. This is despite a 2019 European Union proposal outlining that EU member states’ governments should take action to fight period poverty.
The issue of period poverty is being fought by organisations such as Brussels-based BruZelle, a group founded in 2016 to combat period poverty in Brussels.
The below podcast episode further explores the issue of period poverty. In this episode, I speak to a member from an organisation fighting period poverty in Brussels as well as a person who has experienced period poverty themselves, in order to uncover more about the issue and what European governments could be doing to eradicate period poverty. The podcast also features vox-pops about awareness of the issue within Europe.