VP Welfare and Communities Laura Barr, one of the Union’s five sabbatical officers for 2019/’20, has pledged that SUSU will cease to profit from all menstrual products sold at The Shop on Highfield Campus.
This means that all period products available on campus will be sold at cost price, something which Barr says will serve as a statement that SUSU are not complicit in treating such necessary items as “‘luxuries’“.
The news came just days before a report for Women for Refugee Women and Bloody Good Period revealed that 75% of female asylum seekers in Britain struggle to obtain affordable menstrual products.
Barr argues that period products should never have been viewed by society as ‘commodities‘, and that change should have come a long time ago. Highlighting groups who might struggle most to obtain such essential products and who will benefit most from this change, Barr mentions ‘women in poverty, trans men who still get periods, and those who don’t have access‘.
New post: SUSU commits to profitless menstrual products SUSU will no longer make a pro https://t.co/0jdI4HH1mH
— SUSU (@Union_Soton) October 22, 2019
The VP Welfare and Communities goes on to criticise the taxation of menstrual products, otherwise known as the ‘tampon tax‘. Debate in Parliament continues on the topic, and in the last year Tesco, the Co-Op, and Waitrose have all removed the 5% VAT, with the supermarkets paying on behalf of the customer, but the tax is still not illegal. This is despite studies finding that one in ten girls and women between 14 and 21 cannot afford to buy sanitary towels or tampons.
Barr says that is it wrong for SUSU to benefit from ‘something that causes more stress, poverty and emotional or physical damage to other people‘, and encourages other students’ unions across to country to follow Southampton’s lead.
Menstrual items such as tampons, sanitary towels, and moon cups are now available at cost price from The Shop on Highfield Campus.