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We Need To End Period Poverty In Ireland

Period Poverty In Ireland

When you’re a girl, periods become just another part of life. Almost like breathing. They come, you buy sanitary products, you deal with it for the 5 days or so, and then it’s over. Repeated 12 more times in the year. An estimated 450 times in a lifetime.

For some girls and women, a part of that third sentence is a BIG deal. Buying sanitary products is easy for most of us. For others, it’s just not a possibility.

Plan Ireland published a survey titled We Need to Talk. Period. This survey revealed that 50% of Irish girls have experienced problems around affordability of sanitary products. With 61% of girls admitting to missing school because of their period. Are you shocked? Because we were.

Period Poverty In Ireland

The Figures

Sanitary products cost an average of €4.50, and one box does not contain enough tampons or pads to last the average period length. So you have to buy at least 2 packs. We’re already at €9.00. As pointed out by the Irish Times article, pain relief will also more than likely be needed at a cost of around €4.20. That’s a cost of about €13.20 per month. So every year, your period costs about €158.40. *jaw drops.*

In Ireland, sanitary products are zero-rate VAT. Other European countries charge women up to the standard rate of VAT (27%). “Luxury” items like jewellery, beer and wine are charged VAT at this rate. I don’t know about you but the last time I checked, there was nothing luxurious about having your period…

Period Poverty

The unaffordability of sanitary products is labelled ‘period poverty.’ Period poverty effects women and girls who struggle to afford, or have to go without sanitary products during their period. 45% of women in Scotland have had to manage their period by using makeshift sanitary products out of socks, newspaper, and toilet paper. This statistic is more than likely true of most EU countries. This is a mark of period poverty. This has to stop.

We Need To End Period Poverty.

What Is Being Done?

Charities and initiatives have been set up by women and girls to help break the stigma surrounding periods and end period poverty worldwide. In the UK Molly and Nell started Preventing Period Poverty inspired by an A Level class on pressure groups. Molly and the Preventing Period Poverty team were outraged by the 5% luxury item tax remarking, “To give some perspective, Viagra is not taxed since it is ‘a necessity.'” One way for the boys and another for the girls it would seem…

We Need To End Period Poverty.

In Ireland, Homeless Period Ireland helps tackle period poverty in Ireland. They say the purpose of HPI “is to donate feminine hygiene products (pads, tampons, liners, wipes) to those who otherwise would go without. The donations are brought by volunteer drivers to Homeless Outreach Centres, Direct Provision Centres and Women’s Refuges. The HPI is an initiative, not a charity and is 100% reliant on volunteers for distribution and collection of sanitary products.”

On March 13th, an all party motion calling on the Government to provide free sanitary products to women won support in the Dáil. The movement calls for the provision of free sanitary products to be made available in public buildings, schools and universities included! The motion also called for Ireland to work with EU member states to abolish the VAT rates faced by women. So, there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

What Can I Do?

Donations

If you are in a position to do so, Homeless Period Ireland is always in need of donations of tampons and pads and they have drop off centres around Ireland including: Tropical Popical, Waxperts, UCD, UL, IADT, Rebel Reads Cork, Bella Baby. You can also contact thehomelessperioddublin@gmail.com and see about setting your school up as a drop-off point.

Fundraisers

Until the government provide free sanitary products, ask your school principal if it would be possible to provide free sanitary products to students in your school by holding a fundraiser to raise money for supplies. People could donate their time, money and/or sanitary products.

Education

55% of girls in Ireland feel embarrassed by their period. The social stigma surrounding periods has to end. You can help to end the shame felt by girls and women by normalising periods and talking about them with your friends and family. More than half of the population get a period. So why shouldn’t we talk about it?

Homeless Period Ireland call for education on the expense of periods, and the basic hygiene needs of women saying ““Periods happen every month and unless you are experiencing it, it’s not at the forefront of people’s minds”.

We Need To End Period Poverty.

We at Missy.ie are shocked and angered by the figures surrounding period expenses. The statistics of women and girls facing period poverty in Ireland are heartbreaking and it needs to change now.

Let us know what you think in the comments below or contact us here.

0 In Friendship/ Girl Talk/ Lifestyle/ Relationships/ Wellness

5 Questions That Will Change Your Life

5 Questions That Will Change Your Life

If you think a Insta Model body or a BF is your one-way ticket to internal happiness, it’s time to get some serious perspective. Answer these questions honestly and they might just change your life!

 

1. Will Being Thin Really Make Me Happy?

If you’re frantically nodding your head right now, you could be in trouble. It’s easy to think your life would be perfect if only you were taller/shorter, blonder, more tan…but the reality is that looking “good” is no guarantee that you’ll feel confident. Spoiler: “beautiful” people have problems too.

Happiness comes from within and beauty really is only skin deep. Think about it. Do you seriously think that celebrities and Insta Models don’t have problems? Just one look at their Twitter mentions will prove that it’s not all plain sailing for them either. You wouldn’t think it to look at her, but Lily Reinhart has admitted that she suffers a lot from anxiety, depression and is very insecure about her skin. You never know what is going on inside someone else’s head, no matter what they may look like on the outside.

Is theres’ something about your body that you’d like to change, ask yourself “why“? Everyone has bits that they don’t like, but instead of stressing about them why not draw up a list of things that you do like about yourself and probably take for granted? Read over it whenever you feel down. And don’t forget that real girls aren’t perfect and perfect girls aren’t real. You’re unique and that’s what makes you pretty damn special.

 

2. Is Having A Boyfriend Really Important?

When you’re single, it can feel like everyone in the world is coupled-up (seriously, what is it with all these super quick celeb engagements?) while you’re left as the Bridget Jones of your gang. But if you think that you need to be in a relationship to be truly happy, you could be suffering from low self-esteem, especially if you’re willing to date some randomer who you’re not that into.

When you’re single you can spend as much time with your friends as you like, get to keep every weekend open for spontaneous adventures and you can say you’re an Independent Woman. When you really think about it, are you really desperate to lose all of those things? It’s normal to want to be in a secure and loving relationship, but being one of those girls who simply can’t fly solo means you’ll never feel whole unless you’re someone else’s other half. And that’s just not healthy, or much fun. When you find someone who you are truly meant to be with, you’ll know. But there’s no point in forcing a relationship just for the sake of it. And it’s an even worse idea to think that having a boyfriend will solve all of your problems, it might just create them.

Now, all the single ladies, put your hands up!

 

3. Am I A Good Friend?

Who do you rely on? Think about them right now and ask yourself can they say the same about you? Are you guilty of not being there for your friends when they need you, even-though they provide a first-rate counselling service to you? If you’re the type of person who drops friends like hot potatoes once someone else comes along, you really need to start evaluating how you treat people. Everyone needs friends and as you go through life you’ll find that you rely more and more on a core group of friends. But friendship is a two-way street and they need the effort. And in order to be deserving of good friends, you need to be a great friend in return.

If you’ve just realised that you haven’t been the best friends lately there’s no need to get down about it. Instead, get everyone around foe Netflix and chill night and make sure that they know how much they all mean to you.

 

4. Am I A Nightmare To Live With?

You probably don’t give your home life a second thought, but maybe it’s time that you do. When you’re a child, your parents are obliged to care for you and they don’t really expect any thanks for it, but now that you’re well on your way to adulthood it’s time to re-evaluate your living situation. Does your mum still make all your meals? Does she still wash your clothes and change your sheets too? Instead of talking all that hotel-style help for granted, why not give back every once in a while?

It could be something as simple as offering to vacuum the living room or washing up after the Sunday lunch, neither of which will take yo too much time or effort.

Think about how your parents and siblings view you. We all get a bit short-tempered at time, but if you’re constantly starting arguments and throwing diva fits over the slightest thing, it might be time to re-evaluate your attitude. Make an effort to be kinder and more patient with your ‘rents. Ever get scolded for having “a tone“? Maybe try improve on that. Because even if your family drives you spare at times, they still love you endlessly and are only trying to do their best. So, check the attitude at the front door and help out a bit more. Say thank you to your parents and appreciate them a bit more.

 

5. Am I Reaching My Full Potential?

Think of how frustrating it must be for your teachers and parents if they see you coast along without really, whole-heartedly trying. It’s not that they’re “always on your case”. They care about you and want to see you do well and reach your full-potential.

If you ever scraped a C after not studying for a test, imagine what you cod achieve with a bit more effort?

Instead of shrugging it off, the next time someone tells you to believe you can do something, LISTEN UP for a change. Whether it’s in school, sport or with your family and friends – you have the potential to be the best, if only you’d trust yourself. Don’t let that voice inside you that tells you that you can’t do something. Or that you’re too tired. Or you’ve done the bare minimum – it’s grand, take over. Aim for the stars – and the sky’s the limit.

0 In Girl Talk/ Wellness

Menstrual Cups: What Are They?

Menstrual Cups: What Are They?

Image @msfist

 

Have you heard about Menstrual Cups? We had, but we weren’t entirely sure what all the hype was about. And honestly were weren’t sure that it was for us.

Periods are a drag, but sadly a fact of life if you posses a uterus. And Ireland isn’t exactly a country that encourages healthy attitudes about bodies or periods. So, it’s really no surprise that sometimes people are freaked out by their own bodies. Especially when you’re younger, amirite?

After hearing lots of positive stories about Menstrual Cups we decided to do some investigating and now we see why women are saying goodbye to pads and tampons forever. Here’s everything that you need to know about Menstrual Cups.

 

What Are Menstrual Cups?

A Menstrual Cup is a flexible cup designed to be inserted inside the vagina during your period to collect menstrual blood. Most menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone or rubber.

You insert it similar to a tampon. The cup creates almost like a seal so leakages do not happen and the blood is collected in the cup.

The trick to inserting it correctly is to fold the cup. And there are many different folds. There are great YouTube clips that show you all the different folds.

To take it out you just pinch it slightly to break the seal and then just pull it out genteelly using the stem. Then you just empty it in the toilet, give it a rinse and re-insert it.

The thought of inserting a cup “down there” may sound kinda scary, but it’s really not. It’s perfectly safe and comfortable. In fact most women who use a menstrual cup say that they wouldn’t return to pads or tampons.

 

Image @zinteta

Em…Why?

One menstrual cup can be reused for a number of years once it’s looked after correctly. The average women spends €10 each month on tampons and pads. So after 3 months Menstrual Cups have already paid for themselves!

Some of us reading this might take it for granted that we can easily afford that few euro every month, but this is not the case for every woman. Period Poverty is a serious issue that affects many women around the world, including Ireland.

Menstrual cups are environmentally friendly too. It saves loads of waste because it’s reusable. There are no chemicals, and no plastic waste. Did you know that a number of chemicals are used to produce ordinary pads and tampons? Because we didn’t!

Using a menstrual cup is no harder than a non applicator tampon. It’s really just about learning how to use a menstrual cup. Like with anything, it can take a bit of practice in the beginning. Look, the first few times you use it might terrify you, but it is worth sticking with.

 

What Are The Benefits Of Menstrual Cups?

You don’t need to worry about getting Toxic Shock Syndrome, which isn’t common, but you know… a worry!

As we’ve already said, they are environmentally friendly. Just imagine the amount of waste accumulated by sanitary products throughout a women’s life.

Pads and tampons can be irritating due to the chemicals used to make them. Some women believe that they even prolong your period and make it more painful.

Some people also claim to have shorter periods when using menstrual cups and that their period pains eased.

In a slightly bizarre turn of events a lot of women who hate tampons love menstrual cups. They are more comfortable to wear compared to tampons as the cup is made of soft silicone it moves with your body.

 

Image @lunettecup

Where Can I Buy A Menstruation Cup?

There are lots of different types of Menstrual Cups on the market. Your local Pharmacy should have them. Superdrug and Boots also sell them. And of course you can purchase them online too. We know, shopping online…revolutionary! Mooncup and OrganiCup are among some of the most popular brands.

There’s even menstrual cups especially made for younger users, like the Lunette Menstrual Cup which comes in different colours! Not only is it smaller and shorter – it is squishier, so it’s easier to insert.

Here’s a handy guide that we found to help you find your perfect menstrual cup.

 

FAQ

What if it overflows?

It shouldn’t. Although it mightn’t seem like it, you only lose about 3-5 teaspoons of blood during your period.

Can it fall out?

No. When inserting you fold the cup and when it’s in it unfolds it acts like a suction cup and seals to the sides. So, it’s highly unlikely it would just come out.

Can I use them if I’m a virgin?

Yep! They’re no different from using tampons. If you’ve started your period then you can use a menstrual cup.

What about when I’m out and about?

You’ll be fine! Usually Menstrual Cups only have to be emptied once every 4-12 hours depending on your flow.

What about leakages?

Shouldn’t be a problem as long as it’s inserted properly. And believe us you’ll know if it’s inserted properly.

Can I play sports?

Yes! You can do everything as “normal”. In fact some women even think that menstrual cups have less restricting effects than pads or tampons. You can also swim.

Can you feel it when it’s in??

Not if it sits right. If it’s uncomfortable that means it’s not inserted correctly.

Will it not smell?

No. In fact there should be no smell at all. Menstrual blood develops an oder once it comes in contact with air. Because menstrual cups create a seal it will not be exposed to air, meaning no smell.

How do I clean it?

Some brands come with a container to sterilise the cups in. Otherwise just pop it in an old jam jar with water and microwave for 5 minutes. Keep it in the jar when you’re not using it.

 

Top Tips For Using Menstrual Cups

  • Try boiling the cup in hot water to soften it up before inserting
  • You can also leave the cup wet or use some water-based lubricant for some extra help when inserting.
  • Like all of us at some point, you might still be getting to know your anatomy so some practice using the cup might be needed. When you use it for the first time, give yourself plenty of time to try it out in a place you feel comfortable.

 

What are your thoughts on Menstrual Cups? Let us know in the comments or if you have any questions.