In a landmark victory for the global movement against period poverty, Scotland has become the first country in the world to make menstrual products freely available to all who need them. The Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill on Tuesday, designed to create a legal obligation for the government to ensure sanitary products are free and accessible for all who menstruate, including tampons and pads in public facilities nationwide.Also Read - 2022 CWG Cricket Competition: Five Teams To Compete For Lone Remaining Slot
Under the bill, the Scottish government will be required to set up a nationwide scheme to allow anyone who needs period products to get them free of charge. Further, it will also require schools, colleges and universities to make a range of period products available for free. The bill’s financial memorandum estimates it could cost around £8.7 million a year by 2022, depending on the number of women who will take advantage of the free products, as per CNN. Also Read - Here is Why You Must Track Your Period, Expert Speaks
The Bill was introduced by Scottish Parliament member Monica Lennon, who has been campaigning to end period poverty since 2016.After the vote, Lennon said the decision was “a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved.” Also Read - UK Daily Covid Cases Exceed 200K For First Time, PM Johnson To Address The Nation
“Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important,” she added.
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, posted on Twitter shortly after the vote on Tuesday evening that she was “proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation” and congratulated Monica Lennon.
“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,” Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote.
Period poverty is when those on low incomes can’t afford, or access, suitable period products. A survey of more than 2,000 people by Young Scot found that about one in four respondents at school, college or university in Scotland had struggled to access period products, BBC reported.
Twitter was thrilled with the news and hailed the country for leading the way: