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As the world developed, so did our lifestyles. But not in Lebanon.
For as long as I can remember, the “period” subject has always been considered taboo here, and I grew up in a “liberal” area. If talking about periods was an absolute no, imagine buying the products. Women needed to be discrete when buying pads, and I say pads because God forbid a woman decides to use a tampon.
For years, women bled alone, but silence today is costly.
As the country crippled into a severe depression, price hikes became every Lebanese nightmare. To delay absolute poverty, the government kept on subsidizing a few goods, but period products were not on the list. Pads that used to cost around $3 or $4 now cost more than $40.
Let’s do simple mathematics!
Jamie walks into the supermarket. She picks the best period product and heads toward the cashier. Jamie pays $4, which was an equivalent of 6,500 Lebanese pound, when the exchange rate was 1,500 LBP to every dollar.
Jamie walks again into to supermarket, but hell broke loose in the country, and the exchange rate is 25,000 LBP for every dollar now. She wanders around the supermarket aisles trying to find the cheapest pads. Alas! She finds one box for $2. Jamie picks it up, walks toward the cashier, and pays 50,000 LBP.
Jamie, a middle-income earner, leaves the supermarket, thinking of ways to ration the box of pads as buying another one is out of the question.
Now, if we repeat the scenario for low-income earners, there won’t even be a trip to the supermarket. It would be newspapers, pieces of fabric, or any other unhygienic measure taken which may lead to infections.
While politicians take a nap, leaving the country to burn to the ground, NGOs and medical representatives, such as “Ma3kon,” “Dawrati,” and Dr. Elie Barakat have taken up the initiative to reduce period poverty with the minimal resources that they have.
It breaks my heart to see the women of my country struggle in shame to secure what is considered a bare minimum in developed countries.
It breaks my heart even more to know that it only takes $2 per month to buy period products, yet this $2 is unavailable.
To my international family, if you wish to help the women of my country, here is the link. Any small amount would be of extreme help.