Minister announces period poverty pilot project for NI’s higher education institutions

Date published: 12 May 2021

Economy Minister Diane Dodds has announced a one-year pilot project with Northern Ireland’s higher education institutions to tackle the issue of period poverty.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds
Economy Minister Diane Dodds

Minister Dodds said:

“A survey by Plan International UK found that one in 10 young women aged between 14 and 21 in the UK cannot afford to buy sanitary products and one in seven struggled to afford them. These figures are very concerning.

“This issue has the potential to seriously impact on students in higher education. Preventing attendance at classes, work placements, and even examinations could seriously hamper an individual’s chances of successful completion of their course.

“The negative impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the local economy has also disproportionately impacted on the types of jobs that students tend to work in while studying, thereby creating an even higher risk of period poverty.

“This is further amplified by the fact that students who would have been reliant on products being made available by schools, colleges and universities will have lost this access during the past year due to institutional closures.

“I am pleased to announce this pilot and know it will benefit many higher education students.”

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 Mary's University College.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Plan International UK surveyed 1,000 young women aged between 14 and 21 for its 2017 report on period poverty.
  2. Free period products are already provided in the majority of campuses across Northern Ireland’s six further education colleges.
  3. For media enquiries, contact the DfE Press Office at
  4. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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