SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — For teenage girls and women, you may have a harder time tracking down some basic necessities as supply chain issues claim two more victims — pads and tampons.
This is just the latest in a long list of products that stores are struggling to provide.
Price hikes on cotton and plastic are making feminine hygiene products hard to come by at pharmacies and grocery stores.
Dr. Carrie Murawski, an assistant professor in the English and Communication Studies Department at Roanoke College, has seen those empty shelves with her own eyes.
According to Murawski, the limited stock of feminine products only exacerbates a problem that’s been around for a while: ‘period poverty.’ This issue involves a lack of access to, or ability to afford, menstruation products.
Murawski and her fellow professor, Dr. Wendy Larson-Harris, began a class to tackle period poverty, allowing Roanoke College students to investigate the availability of tampons and pads on campus.
“I would say this shortage of pads and tampons right now is part of period poverty,” said Murawski. “If you can’t access or afford these products, prices are going up, they’re getting harder to find. This is part of the problem.”
According to the professor, one in four girls already miss school in the U.S. because of their periods.
Her class tried to find resources for people struggling to obtain period products, but there aren’t many.
“A lot of people are using unsanitary products or things like toilet paper as a means of necessity because they don’t have access to these products or can’t afford them,” Murawski said.
Higher costs and limited availability may put more people in a situation where they can’t find or afford the products they need.
If you’re looking to help girls and women in need of feminine hygiene products, you can call your local shelter to see if they’re taking donations.