Scotland becomes first nation to provide free period products for all

Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide free and universal access to period products after a four-year campaign that has fundamentally shifted the public discourse around menstruation.

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, which passed unanimously through its final stage on Tuesday evening, will place a legal duty on local authorities to make period products available for all those who need them, building on the work of councils like North Ayrshire, which has been providing free tampons and sanitary towels in its public buildings since 2018.


Period poverty – the struggle to pay for basic sanitary products on a monthly basis – has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, according to charities.

Earlier research by the grassroots group Women for Independence revealed that nearly one in five women had experienced period poverty, which has a significant impact on their hygiene, health and wellbeing. Women are estimated to spend an average of £13 a month on period products and several thousand pounds over a lifetime.

The legislation will also enshrine in law the requirement for schools, colleges and universities to provide the products for free, which was announced by first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in 2017. This was then a world first, while the Scottish government has also funded a project in Aberdeen to deliver free period products to low-income households as well as a further £4m for councils to continue the roll-out to other public places.

In the interim, a number of individual businesses – restaurants, pubs and even football clubs – started providing free products independently. It has become increasingly common in Scotland to walk into a women’s toilet and find free products by the sinks, or with an honesty box.

read more here @ The Guardian

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