Period and sanitary products will now be available free of charge from dispensary machines in toilets located in the James Joyce Library at University College Dublin following a campaign from UCDSU and Homeless Period Ireland.
UCD’s library management have purchased the machines which will distribute free period products, a move which the Students’ Union hope will give them the “momentum” to have “free provision of period products in all bathrooms across campus.”
Speaking to the College Tribune, Carla Gummerson, Graduate Officer for UCDSU, said: “Over the last number of years students and staff from across the campus have been campaigning to bring awareness to the issue of Period Poverty.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mature Students Society ran a fundraising campaign to help fund the purchase of period products on campus. Gummerson explained that during the pandemic, “it became apparent [the Students’ Union] were not as accessible with the products as we may have thought, we had to post them out to students and if we are closed students can not access them, so we bought some free vend machines [sic].”
“The Library wanted to get involved so they also purchased free vend machines. With this momentum, we decided to put forward a submission to [the University Management Team Student Experience Group] which was accepted.” The Students’ Union has stated that similar installations will take place in the college’s other library buildings.
The installation of free period product locations in UCD follows the announcement that Munster Technological University has launched a campaign providing free sanitary products to students and staff, across 60 locations in the MTU campus.
The campaign, called ‘Code Red’, is designed to tackle period poverty so that menstruation does not cause someone to miss educational or recreational activities due to a lack of access to period products.
According to anytimeofthemonth.com, Irish women spend an average of €132 on sanitary products each year and 50% of women have struggled to afford these products.
MTU President, Maggie Cusack, says that providing free period products is another step closer to achieving equality on campus.
“Code Red will make a difference to the lives of our students and staff on the most basic, human dignity, level and will allow students to focus on what really matters while attending third level education – working towards their degree.”
Hugh Dooley – News Editor