Scotland has become the first country to make sanitary products free for all.
Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) voted unanimously to approve the Sanitary Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill, introduced by Labour MSP, Monica Lennon.
The Bill introduces a legal right of free access to tampons and sanitary pads in schools, colleges, universities and other public buildings.
Addressing Parliament, Lennon called the Bill a “practical and progressive” piece of legislation made all the more vital because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lennon said, “Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important.”
Lennon has been campaigning against period poverty since she was elected to Holyrood in 2016.
Period poverty means being unable to access sanitary products and having a poor knowledge of menstruation often due to financial constraints. In the UK, one in ten girls can’t afford to buy menstrual products, while one in seven have struggled to afford them, according to a representative survey of 1,000 girls and young women aged 14-21 by Plan International UK.
A recent study found that period poverty is getting worse during the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown, with one in ten women in the UK having stopped using tampons or sanitary towels.
The average cost of a menstruation per year is rising for women and estimated to be £500 in the UK, with many groups putting pressure on the government to address rising costs. Earlier this year, it was announced that from January 2021, the tampon tax will no longer be included in the price of sanitary products in the UK but more needs to be done now.
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