Menstruation, menopause, climate, plastic and women’s health
According to Renuki Thakore, a lecturer at Central Lancashire University, “Women are disproportionately affected by plastic toxicity and the associated gender inequality.” For example, this is due to the need for access to safe and affordable menstrual products. Meanwhile, 90% of sanitary pads are made of plastic, and each used and discarded item can take 500 to 800 years to decompose. In addition, women are the primary buyers of single-use plastics for food, personal items and household items.
Climate change also has a significant impact on women’s health. Violent weather phenomena, such as cyclones, floods and hurricanes, cause migrations and force staying in crowded shelters, where it is easy to get intimate infections because there are no water, toilets or menstrual products. Sometimes, due to the stress of a disaster, women’s menstrual cycles suddenly stop.
More than half of Australian women born after 1980 find it challenging to buy menstrual products due to inflation and the rising cost of living. Plan International has called on the Australian government to supply free menstrual products to all public restrooms. Meanwhile, the British Standards Institute (BSI) has introduced guidance for companies to support women workers during menopause and menstruation. The standard (BS 30416) provides practical recommendations for adapting to the workplace and strategies to help employers meet the needs of menopausal and menstruating people.