Scotland has become the first country in the world to offer free period products for all

The new law was unanimously passed

MSPs in Scotland have unanimously approved a new law to make period products free for all.

Local authorities are now required by law to ensure that free items such as tampons and sanitary pads are available to “anyone who needs them”.

Labour MSP Monica Lennon introduced the bill to the Scottish parliament, and has been campaigning to end period poverty since 2016.

She said: “Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important.”

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.

Currently, tampons, pads and some reusable products are funded in schools, colleges and universities in Scotland. The new bill will ensure they are funded in all public places.

via Instagram @sani.tree

The Tab Edinburgh spoke to Martha, co-founder of Sanitree, a student led campaign group for free period products. She said: “We’re incredibly relieved to see the Bill finally pass stage four.”

“It’s been three years of grassroots campaigning alongside Monica and other groups across Scotland, so I think we’re definitely taking this time to acknowledge the win. At the same time, we’ve learnt enough about campaigns and about the political process to know that you can afford to be aspirational with policy change.
“When we first started, we were calling for free period products for kids on the Free School Meals programme, then later we ran the #GetABloodyEducation campaign calling for free products for all students, and now all parties in Holyrood have just agreed that period products should be free at the point of use for anyone who needs them.
“100 different football clubs have set up free provision schemes in their stadiums. It’s huge. But period poverty isn’t just a Scottish problem. By nature of this being the first bill of its kind, there was a lot to iron out to make this policy workable, but we’ve shown now that we can build cross-party concordance on this – period poverty isn’t a marginal issue any more.”

Cover image via Instagram @sani.tree

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