Period Poverty, meaning an individual is unable to afford menstrual items for their period, is known to be an issue amongst young people in Aotearoa. The lack of equitable and easily available access to menstrual products is one that has only been a growing part of public discussion in recent years, but the effects of Period Poverty are already known to those going through it. It can have a big impact on their life, leading them to miss school or work, health problems such as infections, and embarrassment or shame. This has been an issue long ignored by those with the means to change things, but in recent times, there have been concerted efforts to remedy this problem of access.
Recently, the New Zealand government announced free period products would be provided to all schools that opted in. At present, this funding does not extend to University students, many of whom are school leavers likely to be facing continued difficulty affording period products (or new challenges resulting from recent financial independence).
Earlier in the semester, The Whai Hauora undertook a survey to get a better understanding of the scale of the issue and the effectiveness of current period product distribution across Campus. From a sample size of 146 students, 13% reported that they regularly struggled to afford period products, and 36.3% occasionally struggled to afford products. This is at a higher rate than the reported national average, indicating the issue has a high level of impact on students within our University community.
Of those surveyed, almost 94% would consider using a menstrual cup, a sustainable period product that would provide a longer term solution to period poverty than single use products such as tampons and pads. So, we are taking action!
The Student Wellbeing Team have free menstrual cups that are available for collection, now (from Lockdown Level 3). Students who would like a free menstrual cup can come to the City Campus General Library basement, where the click and collect service is. You don’t need to pre-book, just show up with your student ID card!
Periods should not be an uphill battle of negativity, contempt, or embarrassment. We’re here to help put an end to that stigma, and to provide a helpful and calm environment for you to access the wellbeing you need. If you’d like more details (such as questions about menstrual cups, the aforementioned study or any other issue that crosses your mind) or have any pātai, please email the Student Wellbeing Team on firstname.lastname@example.org.