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Scotland made history by making all menstrual products free. The Scottish Parliament unanimously voted for the Period Products bill on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. This is the first time any country has ever allowed free and universal access to these much-needed products.
Making Menstrual Products Free in Scotland
Public buildings in Scotland will make menstrual products available to everyone who needs them. This will include all schools and universities. The Period Products bill states that it is up to local education providers and authorities to ensure these products are available.
Last year a member of The Scottish Parliament — Monica Lennon — introduced the bill. “The campaign has been backed by a wide coalition, including trades unions, women’s organisations and charities,” Lennon stated before the law was passed.
After the bill was passed Lennon said that it was “a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved.” According to the financial memorandum for the bill, Scotland could pay close to £8.7 million — translates to $11,635,371.30 in America — by the year 2022.
How People Feel About Scotland’s History-Making Law
Many women’s rights groups, politicians, and equal rights activists have praised Scotland’s new law. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted their new law was “An important policy for women and girls.”
According to Plan International UK’s 2017 survey, roughly one out of 10 girls in the United Kingdom are unable to purchase products for their periods. The survey also stated around half of all girls between the ages of 14 to 21 are extremely embarrassed by their menstruation. It also showed roughly half of these ladies skipped an entire day of school due to menstruating.
In 2018 Scotland’s government announced that students in colleges, schools, and universities would be able to access free sanitary products. They were able to offer this through a 5.2 million pounds. They allotted an additional 4 million pounds to make these products accessible — for free — in recreational centers and libraries.
Last year England launched a similar initiative to make these products available for free. At the beginning of this year, New Zealand followed Scotland and England’s plans.
Written by Sheena Robertson
CNN: Scotland becomes first country to make tampons and pads available for free by Rob Picheta and Ivana Kottasová
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Sheena Robertson
Inline Image Courtesy of Roy’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License