The Scottish parliament has unanimously passed a bill to promote the availability of period products free of cost. The local authorities, schools, colleges and designated public places have been asked to ensure that period products including tampons and pads should be made generally obtainable free of charge to everyone.
According to the Scottish government, the estimated measure will cost 24 million pounds a year, about $32 million. Monica Lennon, the Labour member, has been the one who stood in the front since the beginning of the grass-root level campaign for the past four years. She introduced the bill in the parliament on April 2019, intending to eliminate ‘Period Poverty’. “A proud day for Scotland and a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved,” she tweeted. She also thanked those who campaigned for period dignity and also to her colleagues for backing the bill.
Nicola Sturgeon, the First minister of Scotland, encouraged the move wholeheartedly. “Proud to vote for this ground-breaking 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,” Sturgeon wrote on Twitter.
The Scottish government has surveyed 2000 students in Scotland, which revealed that 1 out of 4 students struggled to access period products. It is also found that 10% of UK girls have been unable to access period products, 15% have been struggling to afford them and 19% have changed to a less quality or less suitable product due to cost. It found that 71% of 14-21-year-olds felt embarrassed buying period products. Members of the Scottish parliament have discussed endometriosis and heavy bleeding, about the existing availability of toilet papers and bins and not the sanitary pads or other menstrual products themselves.
An average female spends more than 2500 days or 7years of her life menstruating, but most couldn’t afford the period products. It is in this context; the Scotland government has decided to legislatively combat this issue by implementing this act by making menstrual products freely available to everyone.