France promises €5 million to fight period poverty

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France promises €5 million to fight period poverty
Paris city councillor and member of the French left-wing Parti de Gauche (PG) Danielle Simonnet shows a tampon during a meeting to mark International Women's Day. Photo: AFP

The French government has vowed to step up its game to tackle the 'taboo' of period poverty, which affects some 2 million women in France.


An additional €4 million would be piled onto the €1 million already voted into the budget for 2021, the government said.

Health Minister Olivier Véran and Equality Minister Elisabeth Moreno made the announcement on Tuesday, promising women who are living in a 'precarious' situation, whether they be incarcerated, homeless or poor.

“We’re attacking a taboo,” the health minister said in a press statement. “Periods are not a shameful topic.”

Is period poverty a problem in France?

Between 1.5 and 2 million women in France suffer from period poverty, according to the government - when they cannot afford to buy sanitary products during their period.




French President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged period poverty as a problem in France during an interview on December 4th with the French web media Brut, which has a large young following, promising “a very concrete” plan to fight it.

“When you see women in very precarious situations on the street, they suffer from all the things as men,” the president told Brut, “but they also suffer from . . having their periods in the street and from not being able to buy what they need to protect themselves and be dignified during the day.”

A live stream interview of French President Emmanuel Macron to the digital news platform Brut on December 4th. Photo: AFP

Macron's interview came after Scotland on November 24th became the first country in the world to vote through a bill giving women access to free tampons and menstrual pads.

Where will France spend the money?

The French government will use the money strengthen the work done by aid organisations, which work directly with distributing menstrual protection to homeless women, in prisons and in secondary schools and high schools known to host pupils living in a precarious situation.

According to the press statement, the change of scale in the budget dedicated to period poverty "will be perpetuated in the budget of social ministries in the years to come".





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