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Scotland becomes first country in world to make period products free

 

A bill which grants universal access to period products has been passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament

Scotland has become the first country in the world to pass legislation making period products free.

The Scottish Parliament unanimously approved a bill yesterday (24 Nov) brought forward by Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon, bringing in a legal right of free access for all women to items such as tampons and sanitary pads.

Lennon said the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill was a "practical and progressive" piece of legislation, made all the more vital because of the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: "Thank you to everyone who has campaigned for period dignity and to my MSP colleagues for backing the bill tonight.

"A proud day for Scotland and a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved.

"Periods products are essential, and now no-one in Scotland will have to go without them.”

A survey of more than 2,000 people by Young Scot found that about one in four respondents at school, college or university in Scotland had struggled to access period products.

Meanwhile, about 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, according to research.

Rose Caldwell, from children's charity Plan International UK, said: "With this landmark legislation, Scotland could soon become the first country in the world to eliminate period poverty once and for all, and with household finances under strain from the coronavirus restrictions, the need has never been greater.

"This new law will help to ensure that no girl or woman in Scotland struggles to afford period products. Yet the roll-out will be critical. Period poverty is driven by a toxic trio of issues, which on top of the cost of period products, includes a lack of education and the stigma and shame surrounding menstruation."

 

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