Addressing Period Poverty
Recently, Scotland’s Parliament passed the first stage of the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill. First proposed in 2017 by Scottish Parliament member Monica Lennon, the bill would require the government to ensure that free period products, such as tampons and pads, are available for any woman who needs them. The Scottish government estimates executing such a bill would require about £24 million annually to help women who have a hard time affording period products.
“Period poverty” is a term used, in part, to describe women who do not have the financial means to afford menstrual products. According to a study published by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, over 500 million people across the globe cope with period poverty. In addressing this issue head on, Scotland’s Parliament had a two-hour candid debate about women’s health and the stigmatization of menstruation.
The stigma surrounding periods makes the topic one that is frequently abandoned between men and women. With society constructing this natural process as embarrassing or “unclean,” women are selective about who they discuss their menstrual cycles with and can often be found hiding their menstrual products up their sleeves or inside boots to avoid humiliation.
The need for more open conversation and education about menstruation could potentially lead to more legislation that may help the millions of women around the world who live in period poverty. Although multiple states in the U.S. (excluding Rhode Island), have outlawed taxes on menstrual products, Scotland’s first step towards free period products is a hopeful step for the future here.
—Kerry Torpey ’20
Voting Absentee for Primaries
With the 2020 primary season in full swing, now is the time to apply for your absentee ballot as soon as possible.
In order to begin improving the health of our democracy, voter turnout proves imperative. To that end, participation in your state primary need not be sacrificed merely because you may be out of state during the time of the election.
An application for an absentee ballot can be completed within a matter of minutes at Vote.org—you will simply input your home address and a ballot can be mailed to you here at Providence College or to the location of your preference.
Although Super Tuesday has come to pass, the majority of states have still yet to vote in this highly contested race, with the Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania primaries right around the corner on April 28.
In the meantime, it remains critical to the welfare of our nation that as many college students as possible research the politics of the remaining candidates in the race to fully participate as informed voters in the electoral process.
In turn, within our present electoral structure, casting a ballot in the primary election as an educated voter proves our best means of influencing whether the candidate that promises the brightest future for both the American and global public may be elected as president so that she or he may enact the change we hope to see in the world.
—Alyssa Cohen ’21
Eat Less Meat for the Environment
Students on Providence College’s campus are quite familiar with the idea of skipping meat once a week, since during the Lenten season PC offers no meat options in its dining halls on Fridays. However, there might be another lesser-known and non-religious reason why we should all consider skipping meat for a day: to decrease our impact on the environment.
According to the New York Times, 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions per year come from the meat and dairy industry—roughly the same amount emitted by the various transportation industries.
This is a massive amount of emissions. However, it actually would not require massive lifestyle changes in order to improve this number. Making a difference does not actually require going vegan or vegetarian, or cutting out meat and animal products entirely. Simply eating less meat and dairy can significantly improve the toll that our eating habits are taking on the environment.
Small and simple diet adjustments can make all the difference, while still leaving room for the occasional cheeseburger. New York Times food writer Melissa Clark suggests an 80-20 strategy: following a diet composed 80 percent of plant-based foods, and 20 percent of meat and dairy.
Achieving this ratio could involve any number of changes, but a good place to start is with protein replacement: including more beans, chickpeas, and high-protein nuts (such as almonds) in your diet. New plant-based meats, like those offered by Beyond Meat—which is now featured at Dunkin’—are another great option if you find tofu unappealing.
Overall, while eating a more plant-based diet might boost your own physical health, it can definitely also help to improve the planet’s health in the process.
—Andrea Traietti ’21