OUSU has introduced a new initiative to subsidise women’s sanitary products for JCRs.
The pilot scheme, originally announced in March, came into action on 19th April. During Trinity term, OUSU will provide “pads, tampons, pantyliners and mooncups” to common rooms at or below cost price, while also absorbing the 5% “luxury” tax which is currently imposed on these products.
Anna Bradshaw, OUSU’s Vice-President for Women, said: “I’m very excited to launch the pilot of this scheme to provide pads, tampons, panty liners and mooncups at or below cost price to common rooms. This will enable common rooms to cheaply source sustainable sanitary products for their students, hopefully ensuring that all students who menstruate have access to sanitary products that are affordable, and ideally free. OUSU is absorbing the 5% “luxury” tax placed on these items because we believe that they are a necessity.”
Bradshaw also noted the further initiative in the project whereby common rooms can choose to match their order with a box of sanitary products worth £7.50 which OUSU will provide on their behalf to homelessness services in Oxford.
She continued: “This belief [in the necessity of sanitary products] is also reflected in the ‘Period Match’ function of the scheme, where common rooms can match their order with a box pads, tampons and pantyliners that OUSU will provide to homelessness services in Oxford. I hope that this pilot will be just the first step towards improving student access to cheaper periods.”
OUSU already subsidises the provision of condoms and other welfare supplies, as it has done for several years.
The current 5% tax rate on sanitary products in the UK has been challenged recently, with an online petition under the title “Stop Taxing Periods. Period” attracting over 220,000 signatures.
First year student Fiona Donnan commented, saying: “I feel this is a great idea, because I pay a fuck-tonne of money for the pleasure of bleeding every month. However, I’d be interested to know what kind they’re providing, because some brands can be quite uncomfortable which is the last thing you need when you’re menstruating.”
Common rooms can order sanitary products from OUSU from the Friday of 0th week.
PHOTO/ Celia Hippie