Tampons Are a Justice Issue
Tampons are nearly ubiquitous in the West and rarely seen elsewhere. I realized this vividly when I traveled to Niger several years ago. I broke the cardinal rule of women of childbearing age and forgot to take tampons, or anything, really, to deal with my time of the month. It was an off week and I was confident enough in my body to know my period wouldn’t come early.
I was wrong.
I realized this on day 7 or so of my 10-day trip. I scrambled to find something, only to be told by a humanitarian worker traveling with me that even if I were to find a drugstore somewhere—quite rare in that country—I wouldn’t find a tampon. They just didn’t exist there.
I called on our universal bond as women to solve my immediate problem, but I remain fascinated by the idea that there are places where tampons just don’t exist. After visiting Niger and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and researching water and sanitation problems and practices for World Vision, I now ...1