Scotland made history yesterday by becoming the first country in the world to introduce legislation that ensures free and universal access to period products for the public. Stemming from a grassroots campaign, this bill is evidence that the Scottish government is taking period poverty very seriously and encouraging other countries to do the same.
In all public spaces, universities, schools, and workspaces in Scotland, it is now a legal right for people to have access to free tampons and sanitary pads.
The new legalization was driven home by Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who has been campaigning for this law and for ending the stigma towards menstruation in society for years. The bill passed unanimously, 121 to zero.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Lady is thrilled with the new legislation, tweeting her support yesterday.
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. Well done to @MonicaLennon7 @ClydesdAileen and all who worked to make it happen https://t.co/4lckZ4ZYIY
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) November 24, 2020
The Scottish government has broken ground this week, but the work does not end there. Lennon goes further to outline the future steps stating: “Once access to period products is secured for all, our next steps must be ensuring women’s health in general remains high on the political agenda in Scotland and that we end all stigma around menstruation. This should start with menstrual wellbeing education in all schools.”
Period poverty is a global battle, and hopefully, other countries will follow in Scotland’s footsteps and provide a similar level of welfare for their citizens.
“Scotland is an example of best practice, and there is an opportunity for other countries around the world to learn from what we have achieved on period poverty in just a few short years,” said Lennon.