Poverty as an issue often evokes pretty visceral images of people living in shanties or tents or simply out on the street. The popular image of economic insecurity is often rooted in a level of suffering that, quite frankly, exists beyond what most in the Industrialized World can even fathom. And, to be clear, all of those images are very real reflections of the level of poverty far too many across the globe contend with.
However, a framework that I’ve found to be interesting and no less compelling is tangling with how much of what we fail to recognize in terms of economic insecurity actually exists in this nexus of things we take for granted. For example, a common retort I may hear from people who argue against public welfare programs is the conjuring of an image of an impoverished person who will squander the money on frivolous items like a cell phone. This is made while failing to reckon with the fact that in today’s society, a cell phone is essentially a necessity. To wit: if this homeless person is to apply for a job, how would they be contacted by the employer? Considering the transient nature of impoverished people - living between shelters, for example - the use of a landline, though cheaper, is impractical. A cell phone is necessary.
More and more, I’ve been tangling with various ways in which we fail to understand that more people are actually straining against the line that marks poverty than we realize. For example, this report indicates that most Americans would end up in dire straits if a minor emergency costing $1,000 were to affect them. These people are generally gainfully employed but do not have the ability to create the savings that will assist them in the midst of an emergency.
And so it is a great delight to see Liverpool Football Club join other teams in addressing similar often unseen and underreported issues affecting people by doing their part to fight period poverty. Period poverty is the phenomenon whereby people are unable to afford access to simple feminine hygiene products. Partnering with community organization On the Ball, the club are making sure all restrooms across Anfield contain feminine hygiene products available beginning with this weekend’s match against Fulham.
According to the report from the official site, period poverty affects 1 in 10 women in the UK, making this a very real and impactful issue. Further complicating matters is that the topic of menstruation is still very much avoided in general, meaning that even raising the issue required crossing some hurdles. Hopefully, this small step is able to bring both more awareness and more sweeping changes beyond the gates of Anfield.