Scotland officially became the first country in the world to offer guaranteed free access to feminine hygiene products on Monday as a new law passed in 2020 went into effect.
As of Monday, the Period Products Bill makes it mandatory that all government officials at the local and state levels take measures to ensure all feminine hygiene products are free of charge to anyone who needs them. These measures include providing period products in bathrooms in schools and on college and university campuses, as well as in designated public places.
The bill was passed unanimously in 2020, after a long campaign to fight “period poverty” led by Labour MSP Monica Lennon. “Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important,” Lennon said at the time.
The rising cost of living and global inflation have made access to period products more difficult than in previous years, and the Period Products Bill aims to eliminate the financial and logistical worry of obtaining the necessary items.
“Providing access to free period products is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them,” said Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison.
Some other countries have taken steps to increase access to free and affordable period products, but Scotland is the first country to enact a nationwide requirement like the PPB. In February 2021, France and New Zealand both began offering free period products in its schools and universities. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, grocery store chains Lidl and Morrisons began offering free period products last year.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ALAMY.COM
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