Last academic year, we self-assessed how period-friendly The Students’ Union is and what more we could do for our students and staff.
Period poverty is the term describing insufficient access to menstrual products and poor knowledge surrounding periods. Inadequate education, taboos and financial barriers are all obstacles to empowering people who menstruate.
In the UK, 1 in 10 women cannot afford to buy menstrual products, while 1 in 7 have struggled to afford them, according to Plan International UK. In March 2017, Freedom4Girls also found that students in the UK are missing schools because of this issue.
Last academic year, The Students’ Union at UWE self-assessed how period-friendly they were and what more could be done for students and staff. This was in response to the ‘No More Taboo’ training day, which was attended by a student and two staff members from The Students’ Union. The university also held events during the year to raise awareness about how to access support and handed out free packs containing menstrual products.
The Students’ Union began responding to period poverty by providing free organic menstrual products in their toilets. Next to products, there is also messaging, which signposts individuals to The Students’ Union Advice Centre and University’s Student Money Service where they can find out about financial options available.
This year The Students’ Union and UWE Bristol are continuing with their commitment to period poverty. In lockdown, UWE Accommodation has taken the first step to ensure students have access to period products. Students have the option to add menstrual products to the box they receive it if self-isolating. This option is currently available to students in university-managed accommodation on campus.
President of The Students’ Union, Augusta Chidinma Nnajiofor commented.
“Anyone who menstruates should have access to menstrual products, this is not a luxury, this is a necessity. I am happy that The Students’ Union and UWE Bristol are taking steps to tackle period poverty within the UWE Bristol student community. We are committed to this and will continue to ensure that students can access the right menstrual products for them.”
This is the first step taken to ensure students can access period products during lockdown.
In addition, UWE’s Student Money Service is providing support for any students that are struggling to afford period products.
The Students’ Union at UWE and the University remain committed to tackling period poverty among the UWE Bristol community and will continue to ensure that students can access the right menstrual products for them, whether they are on or off-campus.
During this challenging time, it is crucial that we support students’ wellbeing and access to period products is very much part of this.
Suzanne Carrie Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity at UWE Bristol commented.
"We recognise that period poverty is an issue for some of our UWE community and we are proud to work with The Students' Union to help tackle this issue."