The Cambridge Period Project secures free menstrual products across Cambridge University

The student-run campaign has secured free menstrual product provision across Departments, Faculties and Colleges

The Cambridge Period Project has secured free menstrual product provision across the University of Cambridge following an 18-month campaign in collaboration with the Cambridge Students’ Union. Free menstrual products are to be made available in Colleges, Departments and Faculties across the University.

Formerly, in June 2021, the General Board’s Education Committee recommended that all Departments and Faculties provide free period products, and on May 27th 2022, the Senior Tutors Committee recommended all Colleges also provide period products in all public bathrooms, the cost of which will be added to College bathroom spending budgets.

The Cambridge Period Project is a student society set with the aim of achieving menstrual equity and alleviating period poverty in the University and local community.

Since beginning the campaign, students have carried out several surveys of all Colleges and over 600 students, delivered an open letter with 1,460 signatures to the Vice-Chancellor, and published a paper in the BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health calling for better menstrual product provision in higher education institutions across the UK.

After securing free menstrual products across the university, The Cambridge Period Project stated, “Lobbying for University-wide change within the collegiate structure of the University of Cambridge has required a lot of determination, and we are delighted with this agreement from all Colleges.”

They add, “This decision marks a significant shift in the cultural perception of menstruation and will ensure that all Colleges take the necessary steps towards securing equitable access to a reliable supply of menstrual products. This is an important move towards improving the wellbeing of the 51.6% of menstruating students at this university who find purchasing period products to be a financial burden, and to securing equal access to education, irrespective of whether you menstruate.”

President and Founder of the Cambridge Period Project, Lydia Seed, says, “I am thrilled by this decision from the University. Having period products freely available in all public College bathrooms is a huge step towards eliminating the stigma associated with menstruation. I hope that the provision of free menstrual products throughout the University will set a precedent for other institutions throughout the UK, especially those with welfare responsibilities such as the NHS.”

Cambridge SU Postgraduate President, Anjum Nahar, said of the recent success of the project, “I am incredibly proud to have successfully supported The Cambridge Period Project this year in making their case for free period products in Colleges.

“This campaign win marks a culture shift in which the Colleges are beginning to prioritize student wellbeing over cutting costs, and this decision will remove financial and administrative burdens from J/MCR Officers, enabling them to better support students in their Colleges.

“I look forward to working with The Cambridge Period Project in the future in distributing menstrual products, and holding the Colleges to account on their promises.”

Feature image credits: The Cambridge Period Project