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Scotland becomes first country to make period products free for all

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    19th Aug, 2022

Context

The Scottish government has become the first in the world to legally protect the right to access free period products when its Period Products Act came into force recently.

About

  • Scotland is the first country to offer period products free of charge on a national scale. Others, including New Zealand and Kenya, distribute products for free in public schools.
  • Scotland has become the first country in the world to make period products free for all.
  • There is now a legal duty on local authorities to provide free items such as tampons and sanitary pads to "anyone who needs them".
  • Products will be distributed through councils and education providers as the Period Products Act comes into force.
  • The bill was introduced by Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who has been campaigning to end period poverty since 2016.
  • Under the new law, schools, colleges and universities as well as local government bodies must make a range of period products available for free in their bathrooms.
  • The Scottish government already invested millions of pounds since 2017 to fund free period products in educational institutions, but the law makes it a legal requirement.

What is period poverty?

  • Period poverty is when those on low incomes can't afford, or access, suitable period products.
  • With average periods lasting about five days, it can cost up to £8 a month for tampons and pads, and some women struggle to afford the cost.

Mobile app

  • A mobile phone app also helps people find the nearest place — such as the local library or community center — where they can pick up period products.
  • Providing access to free period products is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them.

NOTE: In India, there is also a serious problem of period poverty with millions of women still using cloth during their menstruation days risking their health. There is still a considerable amount of taboo around the topic and the government has been spreading awareness in the matter.

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