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Scotland becomes first country to provide all women with free period products

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Nov 25, 2020 1:11 am Updated Nov 25, 2020 2:34 am

Scotland has approved a bill making it the first country to provide free period products to all.

The bill, known as Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill, was approved by unanimous consent from the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, November 24.

It was introduced by Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon, who has been advocating against period poverty since 2016. 

Period poverty is the state of not having enough funds or access to sustainable period products that usually happens among people of low income. 

A survey conducted by Plan International UK in 2017 states that nearly 10% of girls in the UK have been unable to afford period products, 15% have struggled to afford them, and 19% have changed to a less suitable product due to cost.

The onslaught of COVID-19, according to Lennon, has made the “practical and progressive” legislation even more vital for these women.

"Periods don't stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important," she said.

The Scottish Parliament will put the bill into effect by making menstrual products like tampons and pads available for free in schools, universities, and other "specified public service bodies,” says the bill.

According to BBC, the scheme will need to be operational within two years of the legislation becoming law.

Scotland was the first country in the world to make period products free in schools and universities prior to the approval of the bill. If passed into law, the bill will protect the country’s initial measures tackling period poverty.