The Scottish Parliament Tuesday approved a bill to make period products such as tampons and sanitary pads freely accessible, becoming the first country in the world to do so.
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill, which passed unanimously, requires local authorities and education providers to ensure that period products are available free of charge. The measure also designates specified public service bodies to ensure that free period products are available in specified public places.
The legislation aims to tackle period poverty by ensuring that all those who menstruate can have reasonably convenient access to period products, free of charge, as and when they are required. It also establishes the right of everyone in Scotland who need period products to obtain them free of charge.
The proposal follows the decision of the Scottish government in May 2018 to extend a six-month pilot project in Aberdeen which had provided free sanitary products to low-income households, to the rest of Scotland.
Monica Lennon MSP, the Scottish Parliament member who introduced the bill, hailed the achievement, stating;
“(…) In times of economic crisis, women and girls are too often disproportionately disadvantaged. The thought of anyone having to go to a food bank for food, toiletries and essential period products remains unacceptable, and we have huge work to do to address wealth inequalities in our society.”