Scotland Is The First Country In The World To Make Period Products Free

by Christina Marfice
Originally Published: 
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Scotland is on a mission to end what lawmakers call “period poverty.” This law is just the first step

For some people, all over the world, getting a period is more than just a monthly inconvenience. The sanitary products required are expensive, and not all people can afford to buy as many of them as regularly as they need — yet going about daily life with a period and without the right products is impossible to do with any dignity. Scotland is trying to change that — it just became the first country in the world to mandate that all people have access to free period products.

Scotland’s parliament unanimously approved a final measure on Tuesday that will do three things:

  • Require the Scottish government to set up a country-wide scheme that will allow anyone in need of period products to get them for free;
  • Require schools, colleges, and universities, to make a range of period products available, for free, in all their bathrooms;
  • Allow the Scottish government to mandate that other publicly funded institutions also provide these products for free.

Scotland lawmaker Monica Lennon created the bill to address what she calls “period poverty” — when people who need period products struggle to afford them. That’s a struggle many people who menstruate will be able to relate to.

Lennon wrote in the law that period products are a basic need and that the government must provide access to them in order to give all people in Scotland as much dignity as possible. We just have one question: When will this become law in more parts of the world?

Speaking in front of Scotland’s parliament this week, Lennon thanked lawmakers for their help in making this “groundbreaking” legislation into law.

“Thanks to this amazing grassroots activism, universal access to free period products has become a mainstream campaign that every political party in this chamber has embraced,” she said. “We all agree that no one should have to worry about where their next tampon, pad, or reusable is coming from.”

She continued, “Scotland will not be the last country to consign period poverty to history, but we have the chance to be the first. This has been a long time coming.”

After the bill passed, many took to social media to congratulate Scotland on such a major, progressive move.

However, this only solves period poverty in one small corner of the world. People who menstruate deserve free access to hygienic products no matter where they live, and we can only hope to see many other countries following Scotland’s example.

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