SUSU commits to profitless menstrual products

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Your VP Welfare and Community Laura Barr tells you everything you need to know about our promise to not profit from menstrual products sold in The Shop.

What is this campaign all about?

“The move to make period products be at cost price and to stop the Union profiting from menstrual items is a statement to say that we do not support, or want to be complicit in, treating these necessary items as ‘products’ or ‘luxuries’.”

Why is this happening now?

“Now is as good a time as any. Really it should have happened years ago. If we want to go further, menstrual items should never have been a commodity. They should be accessible to everybody, including those who have the most barriers such as women in poverty, trans men who still get periods, and those who don’t have access.”

Looking at the broader issue, why is this needed?

“This is needed in order to change the deeply troubling notion that menstrual items are a commodity, and taxed as a luxury. This is fundamentally wrong. Every single person who needs it should have access to items that help their reproductive health. It is a basic human right, a basic hygiene necessity, and a basic moral need for people to be able to access what they need.”

Why are you passionate about this issue?

“I’m passionate about this issue because saying bluntly that we are not going to profit from something that causes more stress, poverty and emotional or physical damage to other people is the most important thing to me. I am currently working on making them totally free, and have tried hard to make this gender inclusive so that trans and non-binary people are able to access menstrual items without fear, anxiety, or stress about if they can afford them, or even buy them publicly. We are massively privileged in the UK that these items are a lot more accessible than other countries and communities, and we need to make steps as one of the biggest students’ unions in the country to advocate for more accessibility for those who don’t have the platform we do.”

Has anything like this been previously pushed at SUSU?

“There have been multiple campaigns across the country, in other students’ unions, and within our student body. Our previous Volunteering Officer ran an extensive campaign last year dedicated to giving access to menstrual products to the local community and this was widely praised for its achievements.”

Should other Students’ Unions alongside other organisations aimed at the student demographic follow suit if they aren’t already?

“They absolutely should follow suit. They owe it to their students, their consumers, where the economy is impacting them so harshly, where basic necessities are getting harder and harder to access. Given Brexit too, we are potentially going to be hit hard by a lot of things that we can’t expect or plan for as much as I’d hope we can, but this is a step in the right direction.”

Menstrual items including tampons, sanitary towels and moon cups are available to buy at cost price in The Shop.

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