Tackling period poverty in Birmingham City University

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Birmingham City University has launched its ‘Period Poverty’ campaign, bringing free menstrual products to students most in need. 

The campaign is part of a university-wide initiative that started earlier this year. 

Poster in Millenium Point restrooms.

The products are available and replenished every week in restrooms and facilities around Arts, Design and Media faculties across the university. 

As part of the campaign, researchers at BCU are conducting a survey inviting students to share their experiences of periods whilst studying at university with the chance of winning a £20 Amazon voucher. 

The survey is being led by Dr. Angela Hewett alongside Gemma Williams and aims to better understand menstrual experiences of students.

Mesha Pope, a Student Success Advisor within the faculty of Arts, Design and Media said: “Our Period Poverty campaign aims to highlight the inequalities women face with access to period products.

“Schools and colleges now have government funding to provide products to their students which is fantastic, but unfortunately, universities do not.

“We offer a ‘take what you need approach’ and a variety of products are stocked in each toilet.

“We know that period poverty is vast and common and want our students to know that there is no shame in asking for help.” 

The project is currently an in-faculty funded project but Mesha said: “Our goal is to talk so much about this that the funding and support comes flying in!

“It would be amazing to have this as a university wide initiative all year round for our most vulnerable and in-need students.” 

In 2017, Plan International UK reported that one in 10 had been unable to afford sanitary products and one in seven had to borrow sanitary materials from a friend.

It was also estimated that over 137,000 children across the UK missed school days due to period poverty in 2020.

Dr. Angela Hewett said: “We want to better understand menstrual experiences of students, including how affordability of menstrual products, menstrual pain and pain relief, and mental health are experienced.

“Period poverty refers not only to (economic) hardship with accessing period products, but also to a poverty of education, resources, rights and freedom from stigma for girls and menstruators.“

If you want to get involved with the campaign and are a BCU student or need more information contact: ADMSSA.team@bcu.ac.uk.

If you or someone you know is struggling to afford menstrual products, the charities and organisations below can provide help and support. 

http://redboxproject.org/

http://thehomelessperiod.com/

https://www.freeperiods.org/

https://www.bloodygoodperiod.com/

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