The French government is going to offer free tampons and sanitary napkins to students. From next year of study, a total of 1500 vending machines will be placed on and around universities throughout France. The products can be picked up there. Minister Frédérique Vidal (Higher Education) announced this after consultation with, inter alia, interest groups.
According to figures from the French authorities, about 1.7 million Françaises are struggling to pay sanitary napkins and tampons every month. The minister says that women should not be in financial trouble because they are women and therefore have their period. “It is unacceptable that women in 2021 should choose whether to buy food or to protect themselves,” said Vidal. “Its about dignity and solidarity.”
A few months ago, Scotland was the first country to make available nationwide free sanitary napkins and tampons. In France, until now only local initiatives have existed, including in Paris, Rennes and Lille.
Taboo among men
According to critics, there was a taboo on the subject for a long time, especially among male politicians. “Some find it distasteful and do not want to talk about it,” said President Tara Heuzé-Sarmini of the Règles Élémentaires interest organisation. “When we started five years ago, many people did not understand what we were talking about. And still some prefer to ignore it.”
In recent years, several female parliamentarians have published reports and investigations into what is called “précarité menstruelle” in France (freely translated: period without money), and what is now a widely used hashtag on Twitter.
These studies were a reason for Minister Vidal to put the subject high on the agenda and now to create distribution machines. The next few weeks will be set up. From September, when the new academic year begins, they must stand all over France.