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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Make period products mandatory in public settings

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Mothers are going without period protection just so they can feed their children

Period products should be as accessible as toilet roll in public bathrooms, a leading social enterprise has said.

It comes as Scotland became the first country in the world to make it the law for public settings to provide period products.

The Period Products Act means councils and education providers have to make the free items available to those who need them.

Since 2017, around £27m has been spent to provide access in public settings.

Georgie Nicholson, founder of Hey Grirls, said that the organisation had run a study before the pandemic which indicated that one in four women in Scotland had faced period poverty at some point.

"There's a very simple way to describe period poverty: you go to the supermarket and you have to actually choose whether you can buy a bag of pasta or a box of tampons. It's that basic," she said.

"We hear of a lot of mothers going without their period protection just so they can feed their children and using things such as newspaper stuffed into socks or bread... because they're cheaper than period products."

Labour MSP Monica Lennon campaigned for the legislation which was unanimously backed in the Scottish Parliament in 2020. Lennon said: "Local authorities and partner organisations have worked hard to make the legal right to access free period products a reality.

Scotland's social justice secretary Shona Robison said providing access to free period products was "fundamental to equality and dignity".

She added: "We are proud to be the first national government in the world to take such action.

"This is more important than ever at a time when people are making difficult choices due to the cost of living crisis.

"We never want anyone to be in a position where they cannot access period products."



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