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Dickson Welcomes Period Poverty Pilot Project for NI’s Higher Education Institutions

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has supported the Department for the Economy’s Period Poverty pilot project for Northern Ireland’s higher education institutions.

Mr Dickson said: “Recent surveys have shown that one in 10 women in the UK, between 14 and 21 years old, cannot afford to buy sanitary products. One in seven, struggle. These are truly shocking statistics and show just how much work is still to be done to end period poverty for good.”

He went on to explain that the consequences of period poverty may include an inability to attend classes, workshops, and tutor sessions, with knock-on effects for their academic performance. It could also be a huge barrier to sitting examinations, which would in turn, detrimentally impact their future prospects.

Mr Dickson said: “I am delighted to see the launch of this pilot for higher education institutions. My hope is that it will not only assist individual students, but that it will help in tackling harmful stigma around periods on a national scale, normalising a completely natural and regular event in the lives of women.

“I also hope that a successful pilot project will see the provision of free sanitary products widened to include secondary and further education institutions”.

The DfE pilot project will begin in September and involves period products being provided free of charge during the academic year for students attending Ulster University, Queen’s University Belfast, Stranmillis University College and St Marys’ University College.

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