Byline by- Vinayak Heliwal
Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide free and universal access to menstrual products, including tampons and pads, in public facilities, a landmark victory for the global movement against period Poverty.
The Scottish Parliament voted unanimously in favor of the Period Products bill on Tuesday, months after lawmakers had initially signaled their support. The measures are intended to end ‘period poverty ‘ and prohibitive expense that have left many without access to sanitary products when they need them.
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland posted on Twitter after the vote on Tuesday evening that she was ‘proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation’ which she called an ‘important policy for women and girls’.
Period Products will now be available to access in public buildings including schools and universities across Scotland. According to the new rules, it will be up to local authorities and education providers to ensure the products are available free of charge.
Monica Lennon, the lawmaker who submitted the draft proposal of the bill, thanked the groups who were instrumental in its passage, including the Girl Guides of Scotland, and said a collaborative effort across the government had led to its success.
“We have shown that this Parliament can be a progressive force for change when we collaborate,” Ms. Lennon said, speaking in front of Parliament ahead of the vote on Tuesday. “Our prize is the opportunity to consign period poverty to history. In these dark times, we can bring light and hope to the world this evening.”
According to a 2017 survey from Plan International UK, One in 10 girls in the United Kingdom have been unable to afford period products. The survey also found that nearly half of all girls aged 14 to 21 are embarrassed by their periods while about half had missed an entire day of school because of them.
Ms. Lennon also said that periods don’t stop in a pandemic so it matters now more than ever. She and other lawmakers also made it clear that there was still work to be done in tackling the stigma and embarrassment around periods.