Potsdam to start giving out free tampons and sanitary towels
In a bid to end period poverty and tackle the taboo surrounding the subject of menstruation, city authorities in Potsdam will soon start providing tampons and sanitary towels, free of charge, in various places around the German city.
Potsdam to give out free period products
On Wednesday, the Equal Opportunities Office at the university in the city announced that 20 tampon and sanitary towel dispensers had been installed at various locations around the university campus. The idea is to provide assistance to people studying in the city on low incomes, and fight taboos surrounding periods.
City authorities also plan to instal a total of 40 additional dispensers in at least 25 different public buildings, a spokesperson confirmed. Period products will be given out for free in schools, swimming pools, administration buildings and museums, among other places.
The cost of filling and maintaining the university dispensers is to be shared equally between the student body and management, according to the Tagesspiegel. City authorities will also contribute around 40.000 euros per year towards the scheme.
Period poverty remains an issue in Germany
Period poverty is a term used to describe the issue of people being unable to access or afford menstrual products and safe, hygienic spaces in which to use them. Even in developed countries like Germany, period products can represent a significant dent in the budget for the millions of people living in poverty.
In a bid to alleviate this, at the end of 2019 the German government agreed to reduce the rate of VAT on sanitary products from 19 to 7 percent, after years of campaigning from activists who pointed out that other things like cut flowers, pets, collectible coins and cinema tickets already benefited from the reduced rate of taxation. Since January 2020, period products have been taxed as “daily necessities”.