Female students at Birmingham University will be able to take advantage of free sanitary products after a successful campaign by an officer at its student union.
Guild representation and resources officer, Daisy Lindlar - who has since been dubbed ‘Queen of Tampons’ - decided to take action in the wake of the ‘tampon tax’ debate which saw a reduction in the five per cent VAT rate be rejected by MPs by 305 to 287 votes.
The university’s Guild of Students took to Facebook to describe how periods can be ‘expensive’, adding: “To start with, there’s the cost of tampons or towels. On top of this, anyone with a uterus will also be familiar with the associated cost of paracetamol, pyjamas, underwear, bed sheets and the odd sweet treat to get you through the month. Sometimes there's even the loss of work-time and class or lecture attendance to add to the bill.”
Writing in a blog post for The Huffington Post, Lindlar described how Parliament is ‘dominated by people without wombs’ and ‘people who will never experience periods’. She added: “An overwhelmingly male government voted to carry on making money from our wombs, and although people of all genders have periods, this is yet another expense that disproportionately affects women.”
Encouraging open dialogue over a topic which, she said, is still taboo, Lindlar added: “They're seen as an embarrassment, a source of shame, and something we should keep quiet about. This needs to stop.”
Now, in order to ease the financial burden on female students, which Lindlar said can cost a woman £18,000 for around 11,000 of the products over a lifetime, the sabbatical officer has managed to order hundreds of tampons and towels which are being made available free of charge for Birmingham student on the first floor of the Guild and also at the Advice and Representation Centre.
Calling after other universities, Lindlar added in the blog post: “I urge other unions to follow suit and provide free sanitary products to their students.”
The University of Sussex Students’ Union currently hands out free sanitary products every Wednesday and, last year, the University of East Anglia Students’ Union announced it was going ‘profit free’ on the ‘essential’ and ‘crucial’ products by selling them at the price they’re bought in at.
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