The Scottish government will be providing sanitary products such as tampons and pads for free, to “anyone who needs them”. With the passage of a landmark legislation, Scotland became the world’s first country to make period products free for all people on Tuesday.
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, wrote on Twitter that the goal of these measures is to end “period poverty”. Under the bill, the government will “create a nationwide program to make the products accessible for people who need them; all schools, colleges and universities will be required to stock them in bathrooms; and government officials can order other public organisations to do the same.”
Sturgeon further wrote that she was “proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation”. Calling it an “important policy for women and girls,” she tweeted:
Proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation, making Scotland the first country in the world to provide free period products for all who need them. An important policy for women and girls. Well done to @MonicaLennon7 @ClydesdAileen and all who worked to make it happen https://t.co/4lckZ4ZYIY
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) November 24, 2020
To end period poverty
A draft of the Sanitary Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill was submitted for initial approval in Parliament in April 2019. According to Labour member Monica Lennon, who introduced the bill, the measure was officially passed in Tuesday’s vote, and it will give people free access to necessary period products.
According to the Scottish government, the estimated cost to implement the legislation will be about £24 million annually (almost $32 million).
Lennon, who has previously campaigned for period products to be made free in public toilets and workplaces in the country, further told The Scotsman that the Bill was a “practical and progressive” piece of legislation, proposed to ensure menstrual hygiene and its importance became vital because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Because periods don’t stop in a pandemic, we didn’t give up. The final vote on the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill is on Tuesday. 💪🩸#freeperiodproducts
Thank you to every single person who has made this possible. ❤️
— Monica Lennon (@MonicaLennon7) November 22, 2020
She said the step will end “the stigma surrounding periods” and the agenda is to make sure that schools also offer “menstrual education” to all. She added, “Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important.”
She also revealed that she would work with trade unions to “improve period dignity in all workplaces”.
“Scotland is an example of best practice, and there is an opportunity for other countries around the world to learn from what we have achieved on period poverty in just a few short years,” Lennon further added.
Image Credit: The Herald