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Student activists will be appearing in Alexandra Square on Thursday Week 16, promoting their Red Lancaster campaign for free tampons and sanitary towels.
Thursday Week 16 is National Period Pride Day, and the group are asking students at Lancaster to paint their nails red and tweet pictures in support. They will also be offering free nail painting for those who attend the stall.
Red Lancaster are a group of students at Lancaster University who believe menstrual care products should be available free as a necessity, rather than a commercial product. They point out that free contraceptive products are distributed frequently to young people, but that dealing with periods can take up a significant chunk of income.
One campaigner, Hannah Theodore, spoke to SCAN saying: “We already struggle enough with money, a lot of us are in debt. As women, on campus and in society, there’s always a struggle.
She continued: “We should be able to have access to sanitary products for something that we can’t control in the first place, or at least try to do something about the fact that we’re taxed for it unnecessarily.”
LUSU have been offering free menstrual care products all month from the LUSU welcome desk as part of LGBTQ History Month, but the group are aiming for totally free products to be made available. A pack of tampons currently costs approximately £2.50, while sanitary towels are on average £2.00. The average period costs £41 a month, according to the group.
Protests started up nationally in 2015 after it came to public attention that menstrual care products were still charged the reduced rate of 5% VAT, while men’s razors were not taxed at all.