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No Tampons No School for Teen Girls

Young women in Middle Tennessee are missing school as often as monthly for a simple reason – they can't afford feminine hygiene products when they’re on their periods.

Charity Brock, a volunteer at the East Nashville YMCA's Community Action Program, said she noticed a pattern among the girls she hung out with in the after-school program.

Once a month, she said, she saw vibrant young women become withdrawn and reclusive.

She thought the problem was "solely relegated to third-world countries," Brock said. "These girls don’t have an ongoing access to feminine hygiene supplies and because of this need, they don't go to school."

The lack of access to feminine hygiene products is a widespread global issue; startling statistics from United Nations have shown 1 in 10 girls in Sub-Saharan Africa miss school during their menstrual cycle due to lack of sanitary products.

In the United Kingdom, seven percent of girls from low-income families reported missing school for the same reason in a survey by OnePoll.

In the U.S., the issue – referred to as period poverty – keeps 1 out of 5 girls out of school during their monthly cycle. This is according to data, the first of its kind, released in August by Always, a popular brand of feminine hygiene products.

Brock said that girls missing school on a monthly basis puts them on a path toward truancy and delayed graduation.

Amelia Ferrell Knisely, Nashville Tennessean Published 6:00 p.m. CT Aug. 14, 2018

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