KU students have called for a more period-friendly university following the news that Kingston Council is set to become the first local authority to be a Bloody Good Employer.
The council will work with the charity Bloody Good Period to raise awareness and show active commitment to period equity in the UK.
“We are proud to support this amazing charity and are looking forward to working together to become one of the first Bloody Good Employers,” Councillor Alison Holt said in the press release.
Illustration animation student, Elle Walton, feels KU could be more considerate towards people who menstruate and thinks period supplies should be free for all students, either in toilets, or to be collected.
“There’s not a lot of sanitary supplies in the toilet, especially in art departments. This should all be a free thing for people to access,” Walton said.
Biomedical science students, Sarah McCullin and Samantha Botchway, also believe period supplies should be free, as not everyone can afford to buy sufficient sanitary products.
“We shouldn’t have to pay for it. If they give out condoms for free we should not have to pay for menstruation items,” pharmaceutical science student Kelita Blackmore said. “We’re already struggling students, we can’t afford it. They should be considerate of that at least.”
Illustration animation students Asmina Hollingworth, Naia Okking, Anna Jentsch and Matilda Crossly agree that KU would become more period-friendly if they were to provide free period supplies for all.
They also think that the University should enable students to talk more openly about periods. Hollingworth said: “I think they could just make conversations about periods more normal. A lot of people are embarrassed to just talk about it.”
Holt goes on to explain how an internal survey at Kingston Council showed that most of their female employers were uncomfortable talking about menstruation, especially if their manager was male.
The Council now wants to normalise talking about periods in the workplace.
“Now we are ready to go beyond just talking about periods and create huge, long-term positive changes to normalise this topic and support our staff in the right way,” said Holt.
In a response to students, a KU spokesperson said: “The University welcomes initiatives that support and improve the health and wellbeing of students and staff.”
The University did not respond to the question of making period products free, but said that “vending machines supplying sanitary products are located across our campuses and sanitary bins are provided in toilet facilities.”
They also said that: “In terms of general health and wellbeing, the University offers a range of support and advice through its Counselling and Wellbeing service. This includes a suite of resources available on the My Kingston students intranet.”
Update: The Union of Kingston Students provides a selection of sanitary products free for all students. In an email sent to The River they wrote that they are “also looking at stocking sustainable, reusable products as well”.