Photo: Lindsay Boeckl

A bloody mess

In Communities1 Comment

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By Victoria Stunt

It happens to the best of us, ladies.

You’re on your way to class and decide to stop by the washroom. Surprise! Mother Nature came early. It’s that time of the month again, and here you are: unprepared, without tampons or pads, and left in discomfort when you can’t find any products in the five minutes before your lecture starts.

Your eyes are locked on the bathroom door, waiting for another woman to walk in so you may uncomfortably ask the stranger whether she has any extra products. No one.

You jolt your eyes around the washroom. Of course! Duh. The tampon dispenser. You insert your quarter into the machine and wait for it, wait for it… Nothing comes out. Great.

Sound about accurate? Bloody right it does. The feminine hygiene product dispensers around campus continue to sit empty and although these products are essential to women, Ryerson University fails to provide them.

The Women’s Centre at Ryerson said because of this, Ryerson is demonstrating a lack of concern for the needs of women on campus. It’s an issue of equity.

“Feminine care products are not recognized as something that women need,” said Laura Hache, a coordinator at the Women’s Centre. “They’re not recognizing the physical needs of women, and how they’re different from men.”

Stefanie Simard once needed a tampon while on campus but found the dispenser empty. She had to ask a friend instead. “I don’t think it’s that Ryerson doesn’t care about our needs, but I think it would be really nice if they were stocked,” said the second year radio and television arts student.

“I’d like to know the reasoning behind them not being stocked,” said Alex Say, who is part of the supply staff at the Early Learning Centre.

Hache said women at Ryerson are going too easy on the university. “That’s kind of how we’re taught, to not see it as an important issue. We’re supposed to be quiet about it,” she said. “(Empty machines) are everywhere on campus, and even if it’s just a few broken down machines, that’s a few women who go without the needs they require.”

Fifty-five per cent of undergraduates at Ryerson are women. “It shouldn’t be that big of a deal to get our needs met,” said Hache.

Meanwhile, tampons and pads are given out for free at the Women’s Centre (located on the second floor of the Student Centre).

The Women’s Centre ran a campaign in 2008 that pushed for the machines to be filled, but custodial services never fixed the problem.

Adrian Williams, manager of Custodial Services, wouldn’t comment on the issue.


  1. Has the Women’s Centre not thought to encourage women to use cups instead?

    Menstrual cups are reusable so no risk of ever running out, the benefits are also that they’re safer and more hygienic (no risk of TSS, infections, or dioxin) so can be worn before menstruation just-in-case and for up to 12 hours so it saves changing and disposing of waste if there’s no sanitary bins available.

    Cups also have advantages of being environmentally friendly, far cheaper than tampons/pads, body-positive, educational, can lessen cramps/flow, more comfortable, more discreet, don’t leak like tampons/pads, and companies are small ethical women-run businesses.

    Each to their own, but certainly it’d help with the problem, as well as help with other menstrual related problems too.

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