SGA senator aims to make menstrual products more available at UH
The Student Government Association has started the process of making menstrual products more accessible across campus, including in residence halls.
The idea sparked from Natural Science and Mathematics Senator Chiamaka Chukwu, who saw tweets about accessibility to menstrual products and bathrooms for transgender individuals. From there, she has begun doing research on how to make menstrual products more available to the UH community.
“It upset me because trans folks should have access to the same amount of resources as non-trans folks,” Chukwu said. “Just because someone is trans doesn’t make them any less deserving.”
Currently, Chukwu is looking for statistics on the community’s desire for increased menstrual products and ways to fund the initiative. She has created a survey to see how people at the University feel about its menstrual product availability.
“So right now I’m just reaching out to universities that have successfully implemented similar initiatives,” Chukwu said. “I’m also trying to gather as many anecdotal stories and gauge the UH community’s desire to have more menstrual products on campus.”
Part of Chukwu’s research is how the University will finance additional menstrual products. This includes looking for programs and organizations that fund menstrual product-based initiatives. Despite difficulties, Chukwu continues to actively seek funding.
“It’s actually such a bad time to try and accomplish this since we’re in the middle of a whole pandemic and UH is implementing system-wide budget cuts, but there’s no time like the present,” she said.
A 2019 study found that about two-thirds of low-income women in St. Louis could not afford menstrual products, according to the Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal. Out of the women surveyed, 46 percent said they could not afford to purchase food and menstrual products that year.
“Those same women can’t even purchase (menstrual) products through Medicaid, SNAP or other government assistance programs,” Chukwu said. “It’s so ridiculous to me because access to menstrual hygiene products (are) a basic need for most women and that need is treated more like a want.”
Writing legislation or a resolution to make menstrual products more readily available on campus would align with Chukwu’s goal of having them more available on a global level.
“I know this initiative will probably only impact a few people when looking at the massive global population, but I know that anything that can be done to improve the lives of some is worth doing as long as it brings harm to none,” Chukwu said.