First, an introduction: A study, commissioned by menstrual cup brand Intimina, found that people who menstruate spend an average of £4,916 on menstrual products in their lifetime. Period products such as disposable pads, tampons and menstrual cups throughout Europe have at times been considered luxury goods and subject to tax, as such. We can all agree that a monthly, bodily function is not necessarily a glam occasion. Pink tax, childcare, wage gap… it’s expensive being female. Which is no wonder that not all people can afford to be.
Period poverty is a term used when people go without basics such as food in order to purchase feminine hygiene and sanitary products. In a non-monetary sense, it also encompasses the emotional impact, stress and self-esteem issues arising from not being able to afford period products. As well - people who menstruate without access to period products often miss school or work as they feel they must stay home to care for themselves.
Steps have been taken around the world to highlight the need for programs that address period poverty. A shining example would be Scotland when, a year ago, the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill - Parliamentary Business : Scottish Parliament was unanimously passed. This also protects the existing provision of free period products in schools and universities.
This brings me to the project that ethos pathos is currently supporting.
When I first arrived in Athens three years ago, I had the privilege of meeting Didi, the regional coordinator for AMURTEL Greece – part of the international NGO founded in 1975 in India, initiating projects managed by women for women and children. The work they’ve been doing in Greece since 2015 has focused on vulnerable mothers, pregnant women, and children who are refugees – providing support, education and community.
“We understand that for many women in times of crisis, their concerns focus around the well-being of their children and family. We are also aware that disasters can make women more susceptible to post-traumatic stress, depression, or lingering shock and grief. Pregnant and postpartum women are often especially vulnerable.” - AMURTEL
When Didi posted a notice about needing a sewing machine for a mother, who is a seamstress, to better participate in an ongoing project, I jumped at the chance to help.
Upon hearing details of the project, we happily contributed to the making of reusable period pads for AMURTEL Greece and the midwives MAMbrella in aid of people who menstruate and new mothers.
We love Mambrella's ethos of helping mothers be mothers, and AMURTEL's considered approach to providing not only the material essentials like diapers and period products but also the wonderfully holistic support given through educational programs, empowerment and the forming of a safe space for this vulnerable community to thrive.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
On a personal note, I, like many, have felt overwhelmed during the ongoing refugee crisis and also experience eco-anxiety during the ongoing climate crisis. Having a tangible way to contribute to solutions for people, especially women, who have been adversely affected by crises brings a small amount of relief.
Here at ethos pathos we have been able to contribute:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- A new sewing machine ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- The necessary fabrics and notions to get the period pad production started.
- We've been fortunate to have the talented Lara Jayne Lingerie draft a pattern for this project, too!
The other organisations involved will not just distribute these reusable hygiene products but also ensure that each recipient knows how to use and care for them - be it for menstruation or after-birth.
We are deeply thankful for the work being done by these incredible women for this group of incredible women. If you would like to contribute to AMURTEL Greece, you can find their donation information here.