Scotland passes a bill for sanitary products to be supplied free
Vote passes unanimously
Scotland is the first nation in the world to take measures to eradicate Period Poverty
Period Poverty has increase vastly since the start of the pandemic
Scottish parliament’s period poverty bill passes and Scotland will now become the first nation on the planet to make period products freely available to all women in Scotland. The law was unanimously passed in the Scottish parliament late on the evening of Tuesday, November 24, and will require all Scottish local authorities to provide free sanitary products including tampons and sanitary pads.
Labour MSP, Monica Lennon, who has been campaigning for an end to “period poverty” since 2016, said, “Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important,”
“On the issue of period dignity, I am beyond proud that Scotland is leading the way and we have moved at a fast pace in a short space of time,”
The bill, which she labelled “practical and progressive” saw the parliament pass the bill with a vote of 121-0.
Now that the bill has passed it will see the Scottish government implement a process to ensure that any individual who needs sanitary products are readily available with Universities and Colleges ensure that there is a supply available in its bathrooms.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister for Scotland, took to Twitter to herald the actions of the Scottish Government saying, “Proud to vote for this ground breaking 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.”
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. Well done to @MonicaLennon7 @ClydesdAileen and all who worked to make it happen https://t.co/4lckZ4ZYIY
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) November 24, 2020
The Scottish Labour party also took to Twitter to congratulate parliaments actions stating, “Scotland won’t be the last country to consign period poverty to history – but we are the first.”
— Scottish Labour (@scottishlabour) November 24, 2020
Rose Caldwell, chief executive of the girls’ rights charity Plan International U.K., said, “Scotland could soon become the first country in the world to eliminate period poverty once and for all, and with household finances under strain from the coronavirus restrictions, the need has never been greater.”
Period poverty in the UK has surged during the coronavirus pandemic highlighting further inequality between those who have and those who do not with charities having to provide up to six times as many sanitary products as normal.
Bloody Good Period (BGP), a charity that provides period products to those who can’t afford them and provides menstrual education to those less likely to access it, has been supplying food banks, community support groups, those fleeing domestic violence, asylum seekers and refugees, homeless shelters and even NHS frontline workers increasingly through the pandemic.
In total the charity supplied 53,000 products since the pandemic began in March, a six-fold increase on its previous supplies.
BGP’s founder and chief executive, Gabby Edlin, said, “Periods don’t stop in a pandemic,”
She continued, “There’s really no let-up in sight to this increased level of demand – in fact we are planning for demand to continue to increase,”
“As recession bites, more people lose their jobs, and more people are pushed into financial hardship and poverty. Everyone is feeling the cumulative stress of the pandemic. And periods continue to happen every month.”
“If people don’t have the products they need, they’re forced to use alternatives like toilet paper, socks, newspaper, or to not change pads or tampons frequently – all of those options are obviously not appropriate and can cause infections.”
“Some people have no choice but to use nothing at all. Not being able to access period products is incredibly stressful – it can lead to low self-esteem and panic.”
This step by the Scottish government is a positive move in the right direct to see an end to period poverty and hopefully the example set will see many more countries across the world follow suit.
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“Scottish parliament’s period poverty vote unanimously passes by 121-0”
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