In many Latin American countries, lack of access to menstrual hygiene products serves as a major barrier to people who experience periods. In many circumstances, people who menstruate lack the resources to easily and properly manage their cycle. Like other countries within the region, period poverty in Argentina has increased as a result of supply chain issues caused by COVID-19. Here is what you need to know about Argentina’s period inequality problem and the groups working to combat it.
Argentina is home to more than 10 million menstruating individuals with many unable to afford sanitary products for themselves. The country currently taxes menstrual products at 21%, leaving these essential products out of reach for many, especially lower-income women.
According to research conducted by the anti-poverty group La Poderosa, six out of 10 women living within the country have had to deprioritize the purchase of menstrual products in order to afford food.
Another issue with access to period products relates to the heavy stigma surrounding menstruation; the shamefulness of the topic means there is a lack of proper menstrual education and people struggle to voice the issues regarding period inequality. Despite this, a number of groups focus on combating menstrual stigmas and taboos and finding solutions to address the issue of period poverty in Argentina.
This campaign, #MenstruAcción, led by the feminist group EcoFeminita, advocates for the free distribution of menstrual products and protections and education for people who menstruate. Since its origin in 2017, the campaign has tracked legislation promoting the dissemination of sanitary products or the elimination of tax on menstrual products.
Along with this, the organization offers educational resources for the classroom, helping to better inform the population and destigmatize menstruation. So far, the campaign has achieved notable success. It contributed to the passing of bills for tax reduction and/or free distribution of menstrual products within Argentina’s municipalities and provinces.
This Latin American organization focuses on providing health, education and career-related resources to women in the region. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pro Mujer launched the Una Para Vos, Una Para Todos Campaign, working with Johnson & Johnson to help combat period poverty in Argentina, according to its website.
By the end of 2020, the organization was able to deliver both education and sanitary products to more than 21,000 people. In total, Pro Mujer was able to distribute around 26,000 menstrual products.
Argentinian Red Cross
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Red Cross has worked to reduce the impacts of period poverty in Argentina. The organization’s outreach particularly focuses on the struggle that individuals face in gaining access to menstrual hygiene products.
The Argentine Red Cross provided napkins, tampons and menstrual cups to those most in need of supplies. The organization also worked to provide educational material on the use of period products.
Why it Matters
The work of these organizations has made a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of Argentinian women. By increasing education and access to sanitary products, these groups have the potential to make a long-term difference in reducing period poverty in Argentina.
On top of this, legal protections and benefits that initiatives like MenstruAcción support have already begun to minimize these inequalities. While there is still more work to do, the future seems to hold promise for those struggling with period inequality.
– Mary Burke