19 | ENE | 2020
Period poverty inside Mexican prisons
In Mexico, women from marginalized communities can’t afford menstrual hygiene products - Photo: Armando Solís/EL UNIVERSAL

Period poverty inside Mexican prisons

Mexico City
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The Human Rights Watch and Wash United consider menstrual hygiene as a human right

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Several federal administrations promoted gender equality and inclusiveness and in recent years, women’s rights have become a priority and the feminist movement is sparking a cultural change and demanding equality. However, Mexico has a long way to go since there are several states with high femicide and gender violence rates. Moreover, one of the most vulnerable sectors is inmates.

For example, in prisons, the right to menstrual hygiene does not exist. When women are in their period, authorities do not provide them with pads or tampons; therefore, these women depend on their family members to obtain hygiene products or have to purchase them inside jails.

Period poverty in Mexico

Women in prison are forced to use rags, cloths, and socks during their periods. Also, many of them isolate themselves during their period, especially when there is no water in prison.

Federal agencies such as the Health Ministry or the Decentralized Administrative Agency for Prevention and Social Readaptation have yet to address the issue, even when international organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Wash United consider menstrual hygiene as a human right.

Moreover, women in prison are the most vulnerable victims of discrimination. Furthermore, the majority of them are not visited by their families and that their right to menstrual hygiene is ignored, as well as carrying the stigma for the rest of their lives.

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The efforts to close the gap between women and men have shown some results in certain areas such as work, school, and politics but the situation faced by female inmates shows that there is a lot of work left to do.

When it is said that gender equality will become a reality, it is not strange to learn about cases where equality seems like a distant possibility, especially in marginalized communities. In the case of the lack of menstrual hygiene in Mexican prisons, it is urgent to solve the problem.

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