Student organizations call for free feminine hygiene products

Ljubljana – The Slovenian Secondary-School Student Organization (DOS) and the Slovenian Student Union (ŠOS) have urged the government and the National Institute of Public Health(NIJZ) to supply free-of-charge period products to public buildings and educational facilities.

Both organisations called on Monday for the government to provide sufficient free period products in all public school toilets, as well as in other other public institutions, funded either from the national budget or from the budgets of individual educational institutions, their press release reads.

“Just as we expect toilet paper and soap to be available in toilets, so too should feminine hygiene products be freely accessible. Access to period products is a basic human need.”

The added this is one way for us as a society to contribute to diminishing poverty, providing a more inclusive educational environment, and ensuring greater welfare for children and youth.

They noted that menstruating without adequate hygiene products can leave a lasting mark on adolescents and can also hinder their education, citing a US study that found 86% of women have been in a situation where they did not have hygiene products available in a public facility.

Representatives of both organisations also warned that many women in Slovenia and abroad are unable to afford pads and tampons. This leaves schoolgirls forced to miss school in worst-case scenarios.

They also highlighted examples of best practice, where some Slovenian secondary schools already provide free period products to their students.

DOS found that female students do not exploit this and only use the products in the amount necessary.

The STA has asked the Government Communications Office whether the government would heed the call, but is yet to receive a reply.

Several similar calls have been made in Slovenia in recent years.

On 8 March, International Women’s Day, the Slovenian Consumer Association and the 8 March Institute NGO called on decision-makers to ensure an additional VAT cut on menstrual products. They also called for these to be made available free-of-charge in health and educational institutions.

On 10 March 2021, the Social Democrats’ youth and women’s forums pointed out that in the face of the crisis due to the the Covid-19 pandemic many women had to save money on pads and other similar products. They therefore proposed that the government provide free hygiene products for women in all public educational institutions.