This Country Adopts Pioneering Laws for Girls and Women

Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide free access to sanity products for all women.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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Scotland became the first country to make sanity products available and free of charge to all women. Since 2018 these products have been available in schools in Scotland, but this goes further with free tampons and pads.

As part of the Scottish Government initiative, councils have already been given money to make sanitary products more readily available. They are also funded in schools, colleges, and universities like in England. Still, a new bill introduced by the Government places a legal duty on ministers to create a universal scheme so everyone can access free period products making Scotland a world leader.

This bill received backing from Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). At its first stage, challenging questions were raised about the cost, but those who were campaigning outside Parliament insisted that it was higher the price of not doing it.

This is a bill that’s been called groundbreaking not just to end period poverty and inequality that comes with it but for smashing stigma too.

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Although free sanitary products are currently funded in Scotland’s schools and colleges, landmark legislation vote will enshrine that in law and go further, granting universal access to anyone who needs them. The MSPs brought the bill with hope.

Monica Lennon, MSP, Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson, told 5 News, “It’s a huge opportunity for Scotland to end period poverty, and hopefully we will be the first country to do it but certainly not the last.”

According to the source, it’s estimated it’ll cost nearly 10 million pounds a year, but those who felt the financial burden periods bring say the support will be invaluable. The law would make tampons and sanitary pads available at designated public places, including museums, football stadiums, youth clubs, and pharmacies.

In 2017, over a thousand women and girls across Aberdeen took part in a successful six-month pilot scheme providing free sanitary products to those on a low income. The project was extended to students at schools and universities across the country, making hygienic products freely available to all 395.000 students across Scotland. The first government in the world to do so, and it was positively reported worldwide since then.

These first steps to end the stigma of period poverty were definitely in the right direction. First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, praised the legislation on her Twitter, saying, “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.”

Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary and one of the leaders of this initiative told Bloomberg Quicktake: Now, “It’s been a remarkable journey for the country since 2017 from the very early pilots that we took forward. This legislation ultimately now locks in the good law practice what has been happening across the country for many years.”

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