A small change with a big impact

30 Aug 2022

I want women to go into the Physics’ bathroom and feel that their needs are being met. I wanted other women to feel they were understood and supported here in Physics.

As a Physics professor, Jodie Bradby has always worked in a male-dominated field and understands the day-to-day gender equity challenges facing her colleagues. 

Jodie is head of the ANU Department of MaterialsPhysics and as a leader in her field, she has a deep commitment to breaking down barriers and addressing these challenges head-on. 

One confronting inequity that Jodie identified waswhen she would go to the women's bathroom in the Physics department.  

She observed the lack of access toperiod products and decided to take action. Through her own kindness and generosity, Jodie started personally supplying period products - available for people to use at their discretion.  

"I want women to go into the Physics' bathroom and feel that their needs are being met. I wanted other women to feel they were understood and supported here in Physics" Jodie says. 

Her kind approach inspired other departments to follow suit, including the Mathematical Sciences Institute. 

Jodie's initiative helps to alleviate anxiety within her students and those experiencing financial stress, and says she takes comfort from knowing thatstudents can come to campus and haveperiod products available for them. 

Jodie continued to stock thePhysics' bathroomsfor several years before approaching the University to campaign for a period positivity initiative to have free period products available for people across campus.  

She was the driving force behind the University's partnership with Share the Dignity, an Australian organisation that distributes period products to women, girls, and anyone who menstruates, through collection drives and campaigns - providing free products to those in need, when they need them. 

A small gesture, but one that improves the university experience for many.  

"Having period products available in the toilets is a small thing but does make you feel like you are understood and belong here." 

Jodie's initiative helped create a more inclusive environment within the Physics department, as small things like providing period products can make students and staff feel like they belong 

"Like toilet paper, periodproducts should always be there." 

Last month, five Share the Dignity vending machines were installed across the ANU campus 

  • Chifley Library - Ground Floor (located within the facilities space between the female, male and gender-neutral bathrooms) 

  • Hancock Library - Ground Floor 

  • Law Library - Second Floor  

  • Menzies Library - Ground Floor 

  • ANU Thrive - Student Pantry - Copland Building  

The machines are maintained by Facilities and Services 

A sixth vending machine sponsored by ANU will has been installed at the 'Red Cross Roadhouse' homeless shelter in the Griffin Centre.  

Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt commented "It's the generosity and consideration of Jodie and others like Jodie in our community who remind us how we can make simple, but effective changes to address inequality - these people make our campus a more inclusive and better place to work and study."