17.12.2021 - Company
Young women are often surprised by their first menstrual period or they lack the money for period products. A pilot project by the town of Hamm is now aims to removing the taboos surrounding the issue of menstruation – tampons and pads are now available free of charge from a total of 150 dispensing machines in Hamm. These were set up at 46 locations, including secondary schools and public facilities.
It is not uncommon for women and girls to find themselves in situations where they acutely need feminine hygiene products. In spring, Hamm town council therefore decided to have dispensers for free tampons and sanitary towels set up in public buildings, and budgeted 20,000 euros for the purpose.
“The dispensing machines are intended to provide girls and women with specific support in their everyday lives and to draw attention to the problem of period poverty,” explains Jule Pletschen, initiator of the project and equal opportunities spokesperson for the SPD council group.
With monthly costs of around 15 euros, not all girls and women can afford menstrual products such as pads and tampons, initiating discussions concerning social and psychological problems as a result of period poverty.
“Because the topic of menstruation is often burdened with shame, the donors provide a discreet solution and at the same time encourage people to talk about it, thus contributing to the breaking down of taboos,” states Dr. Britta Obszerninks, Head of Department for Education, Family, Youth and Social Affairs of the town of Hamm.
As a project partner, the WEPA foundation has equipped the dispensing machines with sanitary hygiene products and provided information posters.
“We are glad to support this hygiene project with full conviction to contribute to removing the taboos surrounding period poverty. We believe there should be free access to hygiene products in public washrooms, and for us this includes not only toilet paper but also feminine hygiene products. In this way we not only strengthen a reliable sense of hygiene, but also the self-determination of women,” said Ingmar Lohmann, Member of the Management Board of the WEPA foundation.
In a two-year pilot phase, experiences, responses and costs are to be determined with a scientific evaluation by the SRH University of Applied Sciences Hamm. The pilot project in Hamm is unique in Germany and aims to stimulate the debate surrounding the issue. In other countries such as Scotland for example, the free provision of feminine hygiene products in public buildings has been regulated by law since 2020.
The WEPA foundation will continue to support hygiene projects across Europe as part of its work in 2022.