By Aaron Deering
There is currently a bill being proposed by Labour Party Senator Rebecca Moynihan that will have an enormously positive impact on third level institutions around this country. The Senator’s bill focuses on ending period poverty by making period products universally accessible in public buildings and ensuring that other groups are also catered for in the provision of products.
If this bill is passed by members of the Oireachtas it will place an obligation on the government to make period products available free of charge in schools, educational facilities, and public service bodies. Other aspects of the bill include the promotion of environmental sustainability in the use of period products, requiring organisations to consult with users about what and where they want period products, ensuring people have a choice of period products and placing an obligation on the Minister for Health to engage in an information campaign, so people know that the products are available for free.
Speaking about her bill senator Rebecca Moynihan sees no difference between toilet roll and period products, telling SIN, ‘I see period products as being like toilet roll, no one is expected to bring that with them, and period products should be the same. I would like to see them being in local council buildings, social welfare offices and in any other buildings where the state funds’.
The topic of free period products is a familiar one among the NUI Galway student body, having featured prominently in Student Union elections last year, particularly in the Vice President /Welfare and Equality officer election campaign. At the time there was huge demand and support for this initiative especially amongst female students who were right to highlight that condoms are given out for free by the SU so the question remained why shouldn’t period products also be handed out for free, especially considering that they are more expensive?
Senator Rebecca Moynihan’s bill stands to change this and finally bring about equality to not just to female students in NUI Galway, but to all third level and secondary level students across the country. If this bill is passed by the Oireachtas it will finally bring about progress on an important issue that was so widely supported during last year’s SU elections. Student’s in NUIG will no longer have to worry about the added financial strain of buying period products again and this is especially important as the Covid-19 pandemic has hit some students hard financially. Although this bill won’t fully end period poverty it will go a long way in bringing a positive end to an important issue for students on campus and finally create an equal playing field for students attending NUIG.