Scotland has made period products free to all women, making the country the first in the world to take such a step to tackle “period poverty”.
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, which passed unanimously through its final stage on Tuesday evening, November 24, will place a legal duty on local authorities to make period products available for all those who need them.
The measure makes tampons and sanitary pads available at designated public places such as community centres, youth clubs and pharmacies.
According to estimates from the Scottish government, the cost to implement the legislation will be about £24 million annually (almost $32 million).
The Bill was introduced by Scottish Parliament member Monica Lennon. Lennon’s aim was to tackle “period poverty,” and aid those who need menstrual products but struggle to afford them.
“A proud day for Scotland and a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved, Lennon tweeted Tuesday.
During the debate, the bill’s proposer, Scottish Labour Member of Parliament Monica Lennon, said: “No one should have to worry about where their next tampon, pad or reusable is coming from.
“Scotland will not be the last country to consign period poverty to history, but we have the chance to be the first.”
She also told the UK Guardian this was “a proud day for Scotland”.
Lennon said: “This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates. There has already been great progress at a community level and through local authorities in giving everyone the chance of period dignity.
“There has been a massive change in the way that periods are discussed in public life. A few years ago there had never been an open discussion of menstruation in the Holyrood chamber and now it is mainstream. MSPs have enjoyed being a part of that, and it has encompassed the menopause, endometriosis, as well as the types of products we use and their sustainability.”