The Price of Having a Period

The United States is one of the most expensive countries to menstruate, according to a new report conducted by Healthnews.

Every month, an estimated 1.9 billion individuals around the world menstruate — many of whom struggle to afford the necessary hygiene products. Now, a new Healthnews report outlines just how expensive it is to afford the pads in 30 different countries.

The report, published this week, found that the price of a single pad ranges from $0.04 in Germany and Finland to $0.23 in the United Arab Emirates. The country with the second most expensive pads is the United States, with one pad costing $0.15.

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Over a lifetime, that amounts to roughly $1,710.

According to a recent editorial in Frontiers in Reproductive Health, it is estimated that 16.9 million menstruating women in the United States live in poverty, two-thirds of which are low-income and food-insecure women who cannot afford basic menstrual products such as pads, tampons, and other menstrual products.

Meanwhile, in Finland and Germany, the lifetime cost for pads is roughly $490, while it’s approximately $2,668 in UAE.

To calculate the cost of menstrual pads, Healthnews found the lowest price for a single pad in 30 countries and then converted them into U.S. dollars. The price data was compiled using Google searches for local pharmacies, drugstores, and supermarkets within each country in both English and the respective local languages.

Then, to calculate the lifetime cost of having a period, Healthnews multiplied the cost of a single pad in each country by 11,400 — the average number of times a person uses pads throughout their lifetime.

According to the report, other countries with expensive pad prices include Australia, Sweden, and Canada.

The report also notes that tampons and sanitary pads are subject to a Value-Added Tax (VAT) at rates higher than non-essential everyday goods in many countries, including in 36 states.

While this report specifically details the costs of pads, pads are generally seen as the least expensive option when it comes to period products, so these numbers represent the bare minimum costs of having a period in each of the listed countries.

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