Combating period poverty – Menstrual product dispensers
Thanks to a joint initiative launched in the autumn of 2021 by the Gender Equality Office at Saarland University, Saarland Student Services (Studierendenwerk) and the General Student Committee (AStA), students have been able to get free sanitary pads and tampons on our Saarbrücken and Homburg campuses.
A number of European studies conducted in recent years have highlighted the fact that many people in higher education institutions lack adequate access to menstrual products. The underlying issue is often financial constraints, with those on low incomes unable to afford or access suitable period products. Dealing with the problem of period poverty is made all the more difficult due to the social taboo surrounding menstruation.
France took action in 2021 by making pads and tampons available free of charge to students in higher education institutions.
With the installation of five dispensers on its Saarbrücken and Homburg campuses, Saarland University is playing its part in combating period poverty and is helping to challenge the taboos surrounding menstruation.
The dispensers are freely accessible and have been installed at various locations on campus so that all students should be able to find a dispenser fairly close by.
The exact locations of the dispensers are shown on this map.
The dispensers, which were installed at the beginning of the winter semester 2021/2022, are now a discreet but visible addition to the campus landscape. And during 2023, students from the University of Art and Design Saar HBKsaar gave the dispensers their own unique visual identity.
The project team underscored the importance of the initiative: 'Menstrual products are as much a part of daily life as soap and paper towels. The dispensers are a clear sign that we're providing real and effective help to students who are affected by period poverty.'
The project, which receives financial support from Saarland University, the General Student Committee (AStA) and Saarland Student Services (Studierendenwerk), was carried out in cooperation with the University of Art and Design Saar (HBKsaar).
Can we count on your support?
Donations can be made to:
IBAN: DE 60 5902 0090 0008 7500 09
Payment reference Spende Menstruationsartikel-Automaten
(Donation – Menstrual product dispensers)
Feeling inspired? Want to set up a similar project at your university?
Write to us at gleichstellung(at)uni-saarland.de. We'd be happy to share our ideas and experience.