From April, female students and employees of TU Ilmenau will be able to access free products for their periods. To this end, dispensers have just been installed in women’s restrooms at four central locations on the university campus. Tampons and pads will then be available in the refectory, the university library, on the first floor of the Humboldtbau and on the city campus in the Röntgenbau. The REGELbar project is intended to provide women at the TU Ilmenau with financial and psychological relief in their everyday lives. The project is initially scheduled to run for twelve months and will subsequently be expanded, if necessary, following an evaluation.
Menstrual articles are just as important to women in their everyday lives as toilet paper - this was the idea behind the REGELbar project, which was initiated by Dr. Katja Tonisch, TU Ilmenau’s Equal Opportunities Coordinator, and Isabella Liedtke, Coordinator of University Health Management. While the Equal Opportunity Council promotes equal opportunities for all genders at the TU Ilmenau, the Health Management strives for healthy study and working conditions at the university.
With the free period products, TU Ilmenau aims to provide uncomplicated relief for female students and female employees - not only financially, but, through the rapid availability of period products in an emergency, also psychologically. In Germany, too, students and trainees belong to the low-income population groups. In a recent survey by the non-governmental organization Plan International, 75 percent of female respondents under the age of 25 said they would be more comfortable with period products if they were cheaper. Unlike in Scotland or New Zealand, however, there is no law in Germany that obligates public institutions to provide free period products and ensures funding.
With its REGELbar project, the TU Ilmenau would like to promote a more enlightened, less taboo and de-tabooed approach to the subject of menstruation. Therefore, the university accompanies the project with communicative measures: Already in the past winter semester, 24 students of the Applied Media and Communication Studies program developed communication concepts for the project as part of their seminar ÜBerufsfeld-orientierung Public Relations" and the printing of the dispensers was designed, now content for the website, for social media posts and for press releases is being created step by step.