Scotland becomes first country to offer free period products

Clay Curtis
November 25, 2020

Scotland has become the first country in the world to pass legislation making period products free to all. Introduced by Scottish Labour member Monica Lennon, the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill aims to address period poverty - the increasingly common situation in which people who need menstrual hygiene products are unable to afford them.

In a historic move, the Scottish Parliament has unanimously passed The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act which makes it legally mandatory for all public institutions to provide period products, including tampons and pads to all those who need them.

In 2018, Scotland had become the first country to provide free sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities.

Under the bill, the Scottish government must set up measures to allow anyone who needs period products to get them free of charge.

MSP Ms Lennon tweeted it was "about bloody time" after the bill was passed on Tuesday night local time. We have shown that this Parliament can be a force for progressive change when we collaborate.

After the vote, Lennon said, "Scotland will not be the last country to make period poverty history. In this dark time we can bring light and hope to the world this evening".

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Scotland Community Secretary Aileen Campbell praised the law as "an important moment for gender equality".

Some 10 percent of girls in Britain have been unable to afford sanitary products, according to a survey by the children's charity Plan International in 2017, with campaigners warning many skip classes as a effect.

Some Scottish councils such as North Ayrshire - as well as individual businesses such as pubs, restaurants, and football grounds - had started providing free period products ahead of the decision, partly thanks to the advocacy of groups such as On the Ball. It's not just the cost of products that have been an issue. "It matters now more than ever because periods don't stop in a pandemic", Lennon said in Parliament.

"An important policy for women and girls". Nearly a third of girls and women between ages of 14 and 21 encountered problems either affording or accessing sanitary products during the first national lockdown this year, the survey showed.

Labor has been working to alleviate poverty during the MSP term since he was elected to Holiday in 2011.

It will be the responsibility of the local authorities and education providers to ensure the products are available for free as per the new rules.

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