Scotland Soon to Be First Country in World to Make Period Products Free
Scotland may soon be the first nation to provide free menstrual hygiene products to its citizens if the bill passes the third and final of stages necessary within the Scottish Parliament. This is a fresh breath of air, considering how previously, the Scottish National Parliament faced ridicule for stating that passing this bill could lead to “cross-border tampon raids.”
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill passed its first stage on Tuesday with a unanimous 112-0 vote. It was first proposed in 2017 by Monica Lennon, a Scottish Parliament member. This bill is a groundbreaking one as it could potentially end period poverty — or, lack of access to sanitary products during one’s period — within Scotland. The Scottish Government would be legally obliged to make sure period products are available to all; the costing to meed demand is estimated at 24 million pounds (INR 2235 million).
“Scotland has already taken important steps towards improving access to period products and tackling stigma but legislation will guarantee rights, ensure that current initiatives continue in future on a universal basis, and will help us achieve period dignity for all,” Lennon told The Daily Record, adding that the bill’s first hurdle was a great victory for all who had campaigned for free universal access to period products.
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The Scottish Parliament undertook a two-hour debate to discuss the bill, touching upon points like why restrooms always carried separate bins for menstrual products but didn’t always carry menstrual products themselves,= and how to ensure that women who experience endometriosis/heavy bleeding have access to the products they require.
Previously, in 2018, the Scottish Government made period products freely accessible in schools, colleges, and universities. In 2020, England, too, launched a program making period hygiene products freely available in state schools and colleges.
Members of the Scottish Parliament will now form a committee and scrutinize the bill before it is officially passed.