Scotland has become the first country in the world to protect the right to free period products in law as when new legislation come into force today, 15th August 2022.
The Period Products Act means councils and education providers will be legally required to make free sanitary products available to those who need them.
Since 2017, around £27 million has been spent to provide access in public settings.
The legislation was proposed by Labour MSP Monica Lennon and it was unanimously backed in the Scottish Parliament in 2020.
Ms Lennon said: “I’m proud to have pioneered the Period Products Act which is already influencing positive change in Scotland and around the world. Local authorities and partner organisations have worked hard to make the legal right to access free period products a reality. I’m grateful to them and the thousands of people who have got involved across the country.”
“As the cost-of-living crisis takes hold, the Period Products Act is a beacon of hope which shows what can be achieved when politicians come together for the good of the people we serve.”
Free period schemes have been offering free menstrual products in UK schools since 2020, but last month, research by Girlguiding found that over 32% of girls and young women said they could not access items at their place of education. Period poverty is a devastating and embarrassing daily issue for anyone who owns a vagina, this can now at least offer the opportunity to go to your education platform and ask for free product instead of missing education or suffering in silence.
Research has found 1 in 10 students said they or their families can’t afford period products, and with the cost of living crisis not slowing down, Scotland’s law comes at a crucial moment.
The legislation leaves it up to individual councils to arrange how they will distribute the products, but the law demands that they must be reasonably easily available for use.
Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said: “Providing access to free period products is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them.
“This is more important than ever at a time when people are making difficult choices due to the cost of living crisis and we never want anyone to be in a position where they cannot access period products.
“We have also provided funding for an educational website for employers, run a successful anti-stigma campaign, and improved menstrual health resources available for schools.
“I’m grateful to all the young women and girls who have been crucial in developing the best ways to access products to meet their needs.”
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