Menstrual poverty is when someone does not have enough money to buy menstrual products. I had never heard of this before I started using menstrual underwear. Surely a pack of house brand tampons is very cheap? But soon I came across research and articles that unfortunately confirm that this exists worldwide but also in the Netherlands, and that the group is larger than we think. Bregje Hofstede published an article about this in the Correspondent. There were already studies done in Great Britain and in the Netherlands by Plan Nederland and she researched it again by going into conversation with 170 women from about 50 organizations together with Feminist platform De Bovengrondse. Below I quote from her article: First: Yes, you can get pads for as little as a euro a pack. But whether that’s “expensive” depends on your wallet. If you live below the poverty line, or are in debt counseling and have to live on 50 euros a week, menstrual products are sometimes indeed too expensive. The poverty that emerges from the testimonies is distressing. Poverty is unfortunately also a big problem in the Netherlands, which also affects this intimate and vulnerable point: the monthly period. We spoke to women who used old newspapers, or the diapers of their small children.Some stayed at home to ‘let the blood flow’. We also spoke to women who used the diapers of their small children. At the Food Bank, sanitary napkins are ‘in great demand’ and ‘gone immediately’ So we spoke to women who had to cut back on food, such as fruits and vegetables, because of this. ‘I can then buy less food for my child, I find that very bad,’ said a 45-year-old woman. A manager from the Voedselbank Utrecht told us that sanitary towels are not often in the packages, but that they are ‘very wanted’, ‘and gone immediately’. ‘For sanitary towels and tampons we are screaming!’ Poverty is the basic problem, but I hope that this exploratory research will make a hidden aspect of that poverty negotiable: namely, how poverty hits vulnerable girls and women extra every month. A colleague of Bregje’s indicated that when she was young she had to pay for her menstrual products from her pocket money and that the subject was not discussable at home at all. That’s less exceptional than you might hope. In Plan International’s survey, 19 percent of girls and women between the ages of 12 and 25 surveyed indicated that menstruation is not discussed within their families. Nearly 48 percent feel “dirty” when they have their periods. But Bregje’s research and that of Plan International show something else: menstrual poverty stems from a lack of money, but also a lack of knowledge and openness around menstruation. Still not all girls know what happens to them, when they have their first period. In short: yes, menstrual poverty exists. Also in the Netherlands. Bregje’s article inspired us to give something back to girls and women who live below the poverty line, because this affects their lives so much every month. We made contact with De Sociale Kruidenier (DSK) which is part of the Voedselbank in Amsterdam where they sell non-food products for a minimal amount and also have a conversation at the coffee table if people need it. From moodies we are going to donate shorts to The Social Grocer and ask our customers to make a voluntary contribution to increase the number of shorts we can give away. Because unfortunately this is still so badly needed. We realize that this is a drop in the bucket, but I also think that every drop counts and every person we help gets a package of pants and is thus provided for the next few years. We will let you know on our site how many pairs of pants we have donated. By purchasing our pants you will help reduce menstrual poverty in the Netherlands!