St Andrews students are working together to try and bring free sanitary products to the University.
Second-year student Zoë Berkeley launched the petition on Friday 20 July 2018. As of Wednesday 25 July, it has reached 363 signatures.
The petition on Change.org advocates for free sanitary products in all university buildings. According to the petition page, the University is working on plans to install vending machines for free sanitary products in nine residence halls, the Student Union, and the Main Library.
Ms Berkeley wrote on Change.org, “By providing free sanitary products in all university buildings, the University of St Andrews would be demonstrating enormous action in support of women and recognition of the misogyny that is making women pay for their own bodies.
She continued, “In the same way that toilet roll is provided free of charge for students to accommodate their natural bodily functions, a supply of free sanitary products in the toilets of all university buildings would reap massive benefits, from self-esteem to financial concerns.”
Rector Srdja Popovic has demonstrated his support for the campaign, saying on Facebook, “It might be summer but we’re still supporting student initiatives to make St Andrews a better place, and this is a great one! Free sanitary products should be available for all St Andrews students.”
Tampons, panty liners, and certain pads are currently taxed at 5 per cent in the United Kingdom, the current VAT level for sanitary products.
According to the BBC, The European Commission has said it aims to bring in a zero tax rate for sanitary products in 2018, with the UK on board to take action once the rules change. However, the changes currently appear unlikely to have come into effect by the beginning of the new academic year in September.
The petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-st-andrews-free-sanitary-products-at-the-university-of-st-andrews.