KING’S doesn’t have any feminine hygiene product dispensers on the Strand or Guy’s campuses because they didn’t make enough profit, outraged students have been told.
Janice Savage, the facilities manager on the Strand campus, said that dispensers were removed 7-8 years ago.
This was due to underutilisation, the frequency of the dispensers getting broken into and the lack of profit made by the companies providing the dispensers.
Students have expressed concern about the lack of access to essential feminine sanitary products on campus.
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Molly Hayton, a Classical Studies and French student, said: “It’s infuriating that an institution such as King’s with so much wealth can’t dedicate a minuscule amount of its budget to a basic health necessity for its female students.”
Other students have made the point that while condoms are freely available in a number of locations, the same standard is not applied to sanitary products.
The issue plays into a larger debate about the provision of female hygiene products on campus.
A motion at a Student Council meeting on 23 October called for sanitary products to be “readily and freely available in all KCLSU buildings throughout all campuses” and”to lobby for the college to provide free sanitary products in all its buildings.”
Savage said that: “There are no plans in the future for installing feminine hygiene dispensers, but if it was something with popular demand, we would look into it.”
On campus, we have no choice but to line our underwear with tissue and trek to the nearest Boots
by Hareem Ghani
SINCE the beginning of time, women all around the world undergo a magical experience every month: a whole lot of blood, piercing pains, and in some cases (such as mine) severe vomiting.Â
To clarify, I’m talking about periods.
You would think that since this phenomenon has been part of human existence for oh-so-long, King’s College London, the fourth oldest university in the country, would perhaps offer free sanitary products on campus.
Wrong! As it turns out, in a university where 60% of the cohort is female, there are still no sanitary products available — free or otherwise.
So, imagine my dismay when, on a gloomy October morning, I walk into the female toilets at King’s after having started my period, only to discover that there are no free sanitary products available.
Knowing there isn’t an alternative, I resolve to line my pants with tissue paper.
I quickly begin pacing around the Strand campus hoping to find a friend who will have some sanitary products.
I see no one that I know. I enter the Student Union bar, still no one. The Lobby? Not a soul. Realising that I have limited time before I soak through the tissue and underwear, I accept my fate and leave campus in search of sanitary products.
Nonetheless, I was able to afford a pack of Tampax from the nearest Boots.
I was lucky.Â
Had I not, would I have been expected to stay at university while I bled through my day’s attire? Or would I have been expected to run around campus in search of sanitary products while consumed by gut-wrenching stomach cramps?
Perhaps I’m being too harsh on King’s. The UK government, for example, is also complicit in perpetrating the stigma that surrounds feminine hygiene.
Indeed, the government has labelled sanitary products “luxuries” – non-essential items for which we must pay 5% tax. By comparison, men’s razors have no such tax.
It should be made clear that sanitary products are in no way a luxury, but a necessity.
Jyoti Sanghera, UN chief for social issues, has called this stigma around menstrual hygiene “a violation of several human rights, most important the right to human dignity”.
Sanitary products are a necessity.
Not a luxury.