Scotland just became a much friendlier place for women. By Stacey Leasca
In late November, Scottish authorities passed The Period Products Bill, which makes period products, including tampons and pads, free for anyone who needs them.
According to NPR, the bill requires local authorities to ensure that period products are “generally obtainable free of charge.” This includes making said products available in schools for students as well as free in designated public places. The bill passed unanimously.
BBC reported, the bill was introduced by Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who called the bill “practical and progressive.”
“Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables have never been more important,” she added. Of its passage, Lennon also tweeted, “A proud day for Scotland and a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved.”
The Scottish government estimates the bill will cost about $32 million (INR 2,337.97 million) a year, which will go a long way in ending period poverty in the nation. For those unfamiliar with the term, BBC explained it as when “those on low incomes can’t afford, or access, suitable period products.” That’s because the average period lasts for five days and can cost up to $11 (INR 803.68) a month for goods like tampons and pads, a price that many cannot afford.
In Scotland alone, a survey of more than 2,000 respondents found that about one in four struggled to access period products at school or university. A 2019 survey of low-income women in the US found that two-thirds of respondents did not have the resources to buy menstrual products at some point during the last year. One-fifth reported difficulty affording period products on a monthly basis. Hopefully, this new bill will spur other nations into action too.
“That’s right, Scotland has become the first country in the world to make period products free for all,” Scotland’s official account tweeted. “Because in Scotland, we believe it’s fundamental to dignity, equality and human rights.”
Stacey Leasca is a journalist, photographer, and media professor. Send tips and follow her on Instagram now.