The implementation and evaluation of a university-based scheme to reduce period poverty.

Katherine Swainston, Claire O'Malley, Vik Brown

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
To explore the impact of menstruating on academic studies and implement and evaluate the provision of free sanitary products on a university campus.

Background
Issues surrounding the impact of menstruation, access to period products, and period poverty are under researched and clouded by stigma. Access to essential basic products is limited for those living in poverty, having a detrimental impact on wellbeing, attendance, and student attainment. While schools and colleges in England can request free period products via a government scheme this is currently not the case for universities.

Methods
Seventy students and staff from a University in North-East England completed an online survey examining utilisation of free period products, types of products and impact on attendance and attainment. Responses also provided qualitative information pertaining to how free products could impact the University experience and how the scheme could benefit staff and students. Free sanitary products were placed in bathrooms across campus and utilisation monitored.

Outcomes
Ninety-nine percent of respondents felt period products should be freely available on campus with 89% stating they would access these. Pads and tampons were the most popular products and 84% reported both attendance and academic performance was affected by periods. Accessibility of products was perceived to reduce embarrassment, stigma, stress, worry and health risk, allowing students to remain on campus and engage in learning. Respondents reported feeling cared for and supported by the university through this scheme. High utilisation of all products was recorded. Challenges remain in securing ongoing funding to promote period dignity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Mar 2022
EventBritish Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference 2022 - Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Jun 202228 Jun 2022

Conference

ConferenceBritish Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityBristol
Period28/06/2228/06/22

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