Last Thursday, Newcastle University Feminist Society hosted several events in order to celebrate National Period Pride Day 2016.
Events included a bake sale, a book and DVD exchange stall and a Period Pride workshop, all with the aim of raising money to fund menstrual care packs for the homeless.
The workshops taught those who attended how to make their own reusable menstrual care products at home, mooncup use, how periods are not shameful and how to avoid being cisnormative when talking about periods.
‘Cisnormativity’ is the assumption that everybody has the same gender as the sex they were assigned at birth.
The workshops taught those who attended to discuss periods using the term ‘people’, or ‘they’, as opposed to ‘she’ or ‘her’ because it excludes transgender and non-binary people.
They also explored the link between the gender pay gap and periods, as well as issues for those in prison or who are disabled.
The day is a way to spread awareness but also to celebrate organisations who have removed tax from menstrual products in their shops.
Last year, FemSoc ran a successful campaign against the charging of tax on menstrual products and now, as is the case with many places nationwide, the Student’s Union does not charge tax on these items.
Sanitary products in the UK are currently classed as a ‘luxury non-essential item’ and taxed at five percent.
This day campaigns for reform of this taxing; something that even Barack Obama supports.
An online petition on change.org urging George Osborne to remove the tax from santiry products, called ‘Stop Taxing Periods. Period’ has gained over 315,200 signatures.
Rohan Kon, secretary for FemSoc and chair of NUSU council said: “I’m so happy about how it turned out. Over 30 organisations nationwide got involved.
“We raised over £130 to make menstrual care packs (tampons, pads, underwear, gloves, sweets) and we’ve got a lot of coverage of it including by the BBC.
“It’s so exciting that activism that started in Newcastle has become a national celebration.”
The workshop also looked at political debates regarding the ‘tampon tax’ and asked groups to discuss media and advertising representations of the issue.
The menstrual care packs include tampons, pads, gloves, sweets and underwear.
The Period Pride Day events gather so much attention that Rohan was interviewed by BBC Newcastle on Thursday morning.