Scotland is to become the first nation in the world to provide period products entirely free of charge to all its citizens who need them.
Members of the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh voted in favour of proposals that will see local authorities given a legal duty to make period products available to everyone who needs them in their respective areas.
The policy builds on initiatives conducted by a small number of councils in various parts of Scotland, who have been providing free tampons and sanitary towels in all their public buildings over the past several years.
Monica Lennon, an MSP for Scottish Labour, has spearheaded the campaign to see Scotland become the first country to make period products free to all and she warmly welcomed the news that the idea had been officially approved by parliamentarians at Holyrood.
The hope and expectation is that having local authorities taking responsibility for providing free period products will give women, primarily, one less issue to worry about, which for anyone struggling for money could be a significant source of relief.
“This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates,” Ms Lennon told the Guardian.
“There has already been great progress at a community level and through local authorities in giving everyone the chance of period dignity,” she added.
According to various charity organisations, the issue of ‘period poverty’, whereby people routinely find it difficult to afford basic sanitary products, has increased significantly in prevalence over the course of 2020 and the Covid pandemic.
Research has suggested that roughly one in five women have at some point in their lives experience period poverty, with sanitary products costing an average of around £13 per month.
The plan to ensure that anyone in Scotland who needs period products can acquire them for free is expected to cost around £8.7 million a year, with schools, colleges and universities among the institutions that will soon be expected to routinely give out tampons and sanitary towels without charge.
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