On Tuesday, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free. The Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Bill was passed unanimously in the Scottish Parliament, which makes tampons and sanitary pads universally and freely available to all. First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon called it “an important policy for women and girls.”
The bill was approved by 121 votes to zero in Parliament, it was supported by the Scottish government and other opposition parties.
Period products will be available free of cost at designated public places such as community centres, youth clubs, and pharmacies. According to Reuters, these facilities will approximately cost taxpayers 24 million pounds a year by 2022.
By mandating universal feminine hygiene products, Scotland will overcome period poverty, which refers to the prevalent phenomena of being unable to afford products such as pads or tampons to manage menstrual bleeding.
In 2018, Scotland became the first country to provide free sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities.
This pioneering move to provide free and easy access to menstrual products is a monumental step forward in the fight against period poverty. Globally 1.2 billion women lack access to basic sanitation and hygiene, Scotland should be a model for countries to recognise menstrual hygiene as a human rights issue.