By Sophie Perry
A UK charity has launched a new campaign for menstrual equality at universities, following a drastic increase in period poverty amongst students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bloody Good Period (BGP) has launched the #BloodyStudents campaign calling on universities to provide their students with essential period products.
BGP is currently supplying more than six times as many period products as compared with before the pandemic.
The charity has been inundated with requests from students unable to access these essential products, due to self-isolation and the financial hardship caused by the loss of part-time work.
Nikki Iyayi, BGP’s Operations Assistant, said: “We do not believe that any student should have to worry about accessing menstrual products.
“At BGP we are already working at 5-6 times our pre-Covid capacity, getting period supplies to refugees and asylum-seekers, food banks, community support groups, NHS frontline workers and those in financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
“As a small charity, we simply don’t have the resources to supply universities as well – and we believe that universities should be providing these items to their students, as part of their duty of care towards them.”
The campaign is asking both students and non-students to contact their local MP and/or Vice-Chancellor of their university to call for adequate access to menstrual products at universities. A blog post outlining the aims of the campaign provides letter templates for participates to use to get their voices heard.
Data from the charity shows it has supplied more than 54000 products since the start of the pandemic in March.
The charity said on average they distributed 2000 products a month in 2019, the pandemic saw that figure soar to over 10,000 in April 2020 alone.
Figures significantly dipped in August and October 2020 as the charity was providing their partners with two-to-three months of supplies in some months.
Although the charity is yet to finalise the figures for November, it said they are already “seeing another steep rise in demand” with product distributions more than double last year’s figures.
BGP described how a lack of access has a “huge impact on an individual’s self-esteem, physical and mental health, economic welfare and, of course, on a student’s ability to fully participate in their studies”.
Daisy Wakefield, an artist and period poverty activist who works with BGP, said that without access to period products students “ultimately cannot excel in the education they want because they are too stressed”.
She said: “Universities have a responsibly to make sure all their students are able to study.”