In a historic move, Scotland has become the first country to make menstrual products completely free and accessible to all.
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill passed unanimously on Tuesday, after months of lawmakers showing their support for the measure. Under this new bill, local authorities will be required to provide menstrual products such as tampons, pads, and sanitary wipes at no charge in designated public places and to maintain them in schools, which had already begun receiving free menstrual products two years ago. The Scottish government will pay an estimated 24 million pounds or $32 million a year to ensure that the products are made readily available to all.
“The campaign has been backed by a wide coalition, including trades unions, women’s organizations, and charities. Scotland will not be the last country to make period poverty history” Monica Lennon, the lawmaker who formally introduced the bill last year.
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, also praised the passage of the bill.
“Proud to vote for this groundbreaking 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,” she said on Twitter.
This bill was initially explored in 2017 following a study from Plan International UK. They concluded that one in 10 girls in the United Kingdom were unable to afford period products. Men and women alike showed support for the bill fairly quickly.
Member of Parliament Neil Findlay showed his support for the groundbreaking measure saying that “the barrier of our inability to discuss such serious issues about our health and well-being in the media or in public without embarrassment, reticence, and discomfort.”
“It has allowed people to talk about the issues without embarrassment or stigma, which is a very good thing. It was absolutely fantastic to see male industrial workers from Unite the union — members of my own union; I see some of them in the gallery — out there campaigning on period poverty. Long may that continue.”