In a remarkable move, Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide free and universal access to sanitary products including tampons and pads to women of all age groups. This move was followed after the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed legislation on Tuesday after a four-year campaign that has fundamentally shifted the public discourse around menstruation.
The Scottish government, under the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, will be introducing a nationwide program which will place a legal duty on all local authorities to make feminine hygiene products such as tampons and pads freely available for those who need them. The campaign received nationwide support and was spearheaded by Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, Monica Lennon, was quoted saying, “it is a proud day for Scotland”.
“There has been a massive change in the way that periods are discussed in public life. A few years ago there had never been an open discussion of menstruation in the Holyrood chamber and now it is mainstream. MSPs have enjoyed being a part of that, and it has encompassed the menopause, endometriosis, as well as the types of products we use and their sustainability,” she added.
The underlying goal is to eliminate “period poverty” which was estimated that women spend an average of £13 a month on period products and several thousand pounds over a lifetime.
This measure would cater to women of all groups with free availability of sanitary products at nearly all public places including community centres, youth clubs and pharmacies and is estimated to cost about £8.7 million pounds a year by 2022. The proposal also mandates schools, colleges and universities to make feminine hygiene products accessible for students.