As the menstrual hygiene access movement continues to spread across schools and colleges nationwide, Groningen is also making a change, the broadcaster OOGTV reports. On Thursday, Comité Vrouwenstrijd – a coalition of student activists dedicated to promoting access to menstrual products – placed small bins with free feminine hygiene products in fifty bathrooms across the city, including the University of Groningen, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, and various vocational schools. The committee hopes to make the schools provide sanitary products in on-campus toilets, and is pushing for Groningen City Council to do the same in government buildings.
According to the Groninger Internet Courant, the group earlier launched a petition (and an appeal to the municipal council) calling for the provision of free tampons in women’s restrooms to combat ‘menstrual poverty’ and ensure greater freedom for women. ”We are asking for free access to menstrual products in public toilets and toilets inside municipal buildings,” the committee said in its petition. “It is just a small thing to help make people’s lives easier.” The activists seek to draw attention to an often-forgotten plight – that of low-income women and girls who cannot afford to buy sanitary products.
The city council discussed the students’ initiative on Wednesday. The proposal received a great deal of support, and a number of parties pledged to stock the municipality’s bathrooms with menstrual products. The council has yet to decide whether there is going to be be a permanent solution to the problem.
Some research suggests that nearly ten percent of women between the ages of 12 and 25 in the Netherlands sometimes cannot afford to buy period products, often leaving girls feeling they have no option but to miss school every month.