Scotland has made sanitary products free to all women, becoming the first country in the world to take such a step against “period poverty”.
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, which passed unanimously through its final stage on Tuesday evening, November 24, will place a legal duty on local authorities to make period products available for all those who need them.
The measure makes tampons and sanitary pads available at designated public places such as community centres, youth clubs and pharmacies.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon called it “an important policy for women and girls”.
“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,” Sturgeon posted on Twitter.
During the debate, the bill’s proposer, Scottish Labour Member of Parliament Monica Lennon, said: “No one should have to worry about where their next tampon, pad or reusable is coming from.
“Scotland will not be the last country to consign period poverty to history, but we have the chance to be the first.”
She also told the UK Guardian this was “a proud day for Scotland”.
Lennon said: “This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates. There has already been great progress at a community level and through local authorities in giving everyone the chance of period dignity.
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“There has been a massive change in the way that periods are discussed in public life. A few years ago there had never been an open discussion of menstruation in the Holyrood chamber and now it is mainstream. MSPs have enjoyed being a part of that, and it has encompassed the menopause, endometriosis, as well as the types of products we use and their sustainability.”