On May 30, the University of Waterloo launched a pilot project which aims to increase equitable access to menstrual products on campus. Free menstrual products will now be stocked in dispensers in a number of washrooms across UW. A list of washrooms containing these products may be found here.
The initiative is a collaboration between the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-racism (EDI-R) and Plant Operations at the university. It builds on the work of the Women’s Centre, and has received support from a number of other groups on campus.
One of the pilot’s main aims is to decrease stigma around menstruation, and to help foster education and a broader understanding of menstrual health on campus. It recognizes that menstruation is not limited to any singular gender identity, and aims to provide free menstrual products to anyone who may need them. As such, these products will be included in a variety of women’s, all gender, and men’s washrooms.
The EDI-R Office hopes that this initiative will help create a more equitable and welcoming environment for those of all gender identities at UW. “I just want to highlight that this initiative builds on the existing advocacy and ongoing work of the Women’s Centre,” Gina Hickman, Director of Equity for EDI-R, told Imprint.
“[The Women’s Centre] has been proactive in addressing the needs of university community members who menstruate. We are extremely grateful for their commitment to and work on menstrual equity.” Hickman said.
Hickman also hopes to partner with campus stakeholders later in the fall, in order to hold a larger launch event celebrating the pilot.
Groups and organizations which have supported the menstrual equity pilot include the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association, the Graduate Student Association, the faculties of engineering, health and math, the school of pharmacy, health promotion, athletics, and the office of advancement.
For more information on this initiative, students can visit the Menstrual Equity Webpage.