Abstract

Background: Menstrual equity, that is, access to menstrual products and safe menstruating environments, is a basic human right not available to many vulnerable populations.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey with a convenience sample of women involved in the criminal legal system to document experiences with access to hygiene and menstrual products while incarcerated.
Results: Of the 156 respondents, 62.6% had to trade or barter to receive even basic hygiene products such as soap or shampoo; food and personal favors were used as the common currency. More than half (53.8%) received less than five menstrual products at intake/initial processing; 29.5% had to trade or barter menstrual hygiene products. Almost one-quarter (23.1%) suffered negative health consequences from prolonged use of products because of limited supply.
Discussion: Findings document the lack of menstrual equity among women involved in the criminal legal system. Assuring the human right of menstrual equity in this population requires changes at the legal, the policy, the institutional, and the individual level.

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Information & Authors

Information

Published In

cover image Journal of Women's Health
Journal of Women's Health
Volume 32Issue Number 9September 2023
Pages: 927 - 931
PubMed: 37535828

History

Published online: 4 September 2023
Published in print: September 2023
Published ahead of print: 3 August 2023
Accepted: 6 June 2023
Received: 19 February 2023

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    Authors

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    Shilpa Darivemula
    University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
    University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
    Lisa Flowers
    Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
    Shawana Moore
    Emory University School of Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
    Bianca Hall
    Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women's Health, New York, New York, USA.
    Hebron Kelecha
    Northwestern University School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Evanston, Illinois, USA.
    Xinyang Li
    University of Kansas Medical Center, Department of Sociology, Kansas City, Kansas, USA.
    Megha Ramaswamy
    University of Kansas Medical Center, Department of Sociology, Kansas City, Kansas, USA.
    Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing, Department of Research Development, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

    Notes

    Address correspondence to: Patricia J. Kelly, PhD, MPH, APRN, Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing, Department of Research Development, Philadelphia, PA 19107-5084, USA [email protected]

    Authors' Contributions

    All authors contributed to the initial ideas, formulation of outline, discussion of issues to be included, and review of final document.

    Author Disclosure Statement

    The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest in their publication of this article.

    Funding Information

    Data collection was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, grant 2R01CA181047 “Sexual health empowerment for jail-involved women's health literacy and prevention” to Megha Ramaswamy, PI.

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