Scotland on Tuesday became the first country worldwide to make it a legal right to have access to free period products, after its parliament unanimously passed the Period Products Bill.
The bill, introduced by MSP Monica Lennon in 2019, aims to tackle “period poverty”, which is when some people who need period products struggle to afford them. Lennon supports that providing access to them, given that they are a “basic necessity”, is a matter of utmost importance for people’s dignity.
“A proud day for Scotland and a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved,” Lennon tweeted.
Under the new law, the Scottish government is required to set up a nation-wide system so that anyone in need of period products, like sanitary pads and tampons can get them for free in public facilities. The government will also have the power to make other public bodies provide period products for free, while schools, colleges and universities also need to make a range of period products available for free, in their toilets.
“Proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation, making Scotland the first country in the world to provide free period products for all who need them. An important policy for women and girls,” Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted, welcoming the move.
“The Period Products (Free Provision)(Scotland) Bill has been passed unanimously my MSPs this evening, the Scottish parliament posted on Twitter.
The measure is expected to cost £9.7 million (€10.9 million) per year.
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill has been passed unanimously by MSPs this evening.
Find out more about what the Bill sets out to change: https://t.co/pdkiesJxGG pic.twitter.com/Pfz2TqJIP7
— Scottish Parliament (@ScotParl) November 24, 2020