In their latest UGM, LSESU has voted in favour of an initiative to provide free menstrual products for students in the Saw Swee Hock Building.
The motion was put forward by SU Women’s Officer Katie Tesseyman and seconded by Aarti Narsee, a Masters student. The reason was summarised on the LSESU page: “Not being able to access menstrual products can seriously hinder a person’s daily life, which includes adversely affecting their education opportunities.”
The motion reflects a term known as ‘Period Poverty’ which is an issue which affects menstruating people both abroad and in the UK.
The motion was quorate and voted by a total of 465 members.
Votes For: 432
Votes Against: 23
LSESU will now begin an initiative to provide free menstrual products on campus would ensure that all menstruating people have access to products when they need them.
Katie Tesseyman told The Beaver: “I’m really glad that my motion to mandate the SU to provide free menstrual products in all the bathrooms has passed – it’s a positive step towards making sure all people who menstruate can access the products they need and will hopefully go some way towards de-stigmatising periods! The important thing now is ensuring the motion gets implemented, which I will be working hard on to make sure we actually see this change in place by the end of the year.”
This motion stems from the controversy that period products are taxed as a luxury item whilst being an unavoidable part of reality for many. It also highlights the problem that, whilst menstrual products are available in many bathrooms, they are often only accessible to cis-passing women because they are only available in female toilets. Given that all the toilets in the SU building are open to people of all genders, the SU is in a great position to tackle this issue.
Aartie Narsee also offered comment to The Beaver: “I am happy with the motion outcome, but this is only the first step to making menstrual products available at LSE. Having free access to menstrual products will have a huge impact for students, particularly those who may not be able to afford them. As a student who comes from South Africa, I have witnessed period poverty hampering education of many. Hence, this cause is an important one for me.”