The idea for initiating the pilot first arose when the Central Student Council (CSR) pointed out this problem, asking UvA to be a university that promotes menstrual equity. ‘Menstrual products are necessary, just like toilet paper, soap, water and food’, CSR-member Anjali George says. ‘Neither financial status or gender should play a role in who has access to them. We would like to see products become freely available in dispensers in all UvA-toilets.’
According to director of Facility Services Bert Zwiep, the vending machines are an important first step towards tackling this issue. ‘We want to help students and staff who are experiencing problems purchasing menstrual products’, Zwiep says. However, Zwiep emphasises that the products are intended for the group that cannot afford to buy tampons and sanitary pads at regular price.
In the meantime, the CSR has purchased 6,300 menstrual products out of their own funds to be made freely available to students. ‘A one-time emergency purchase, if it's up to us,’ says George. 'We hope that UvA will choose to follow suit and offer free products in every toilet, thus taking a step towards a more inclusive campus.'
At the beginning of 2023 it should be clear if this is possible and what the costs would be if products would be made (freely) available in dispensers in several or all toilets. The Executive Board will then make a decision on how we will continue to offer the products.