Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro chose to veto parts of a law to distribute sanitary pads free of charge to women in economically vulnerable situations, prison inmates, and teenagers enrolled in public schools. The president claimed lawmakers did not specify how the measure would be funded, though mentioned the law’s “laudable intent.”
A report by the Girl Up movement claims that one in four Brazilian teenage women do not have access to sanitary pads or tampons during menstruation. Roughly 20 percent have no access to water at home and over 200,000 study in schools with poor sanitary conditions.
The lack of access to adequate sanitary conditions increases the risk of urinary tract infections. “The taboo around menstruation can even prevent girls from going to school and accessing other spaces, harming their economic opportunities for the future,” said Astrid Bant, from the UN Population Fund, speaking to Brazil’s lower house in March.
Data from 2013 shows that nearly 3 percent of women who dropped out of school say their decision was linked to menstrual issues.