“Moshi, Tanzania — Every month when payday came around, Suzana Frederick purchased a packet of sanitary pads. It was the first thing she bought. And when her period started, she knew she was ready for it.
The 19-year-old single mother from Arusha, Tanzania, was making 30,000 shillings ($13) a month as a housekeeper and would spend between 1,500 and 3,000 shillings ($0.70 to $1.30) on pads — a staggering 5% to 10% of her salary.
For an American woman making a typical wage, that would be the equivalent of between $169 and $338 for just one pack of sanitary pads.
The steep price was worth it for Frederick. The alternative of missing a few days of work each month to manage her period at home would have been more costly.
Roughly 1.8 billion people around the world menstruate. Some can’t afford sanitary products. Others have nowhere to buy them. And even if price isn’t an issue, stigma and taboo still stop many from fully participating in work and school during their periods.
For these women, the cost of menstruation is missing out on life.”
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