Period products will now be available for free in Scotland after landmark decision.
Just in today, Scotland parliament unanimously approved a bill allowing any menstruating person free access to period products.
The bill was introduced to parliament by Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon and was passed, 121 votes to 0, by MSP and Scottish Government in a unanimous ‘yes’ decision. Scotland is the first in the world to pass this type of legislation and it represents a massive step forward for menstruation rights.
The legislation comes in an effort to alleviate period poverty and aid Scottish households under financial stress.
“Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables have never been more important,” she said, as reported by The Scotsman.
Lennon has championed period equality in the past, campaigning for free access to period products in public bathrooms and workplaces. This new bill will introduce a legal right of free access to tampons and sanitary pads in schools, colleges, universities, and other public buildings.
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
Her bill has passed the final stages of legislation, despite initial opposition from ministers arguing it could cost the country upwards of £9.7 million a year.
“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,” Lennon said.
However, Lennon says the legislation is only the start in ending menstruation inequality. She said that schools should offer “menstrual education” to all students to “end the stigma” of periods, and that she would work with trade unions to “improve period dignity in all workplaces.”
“Once access to period products is secured for all, our next steps must be ensuring women’s health in general remains high on the political agenda in Scotland and that we end all stigma around menstruation. This should start with menstrual wellbeing education in all schools,” Lennon said
How incredible is this:
Scotland has today become the world’s first Country to make pads/tampons/period products free for anyone who needs them.
The bill backed by members of Scotland’s parliament is here: https://t.co/ZaH7pm9PWN pic.twitter.com/CUPKSLAWyV
— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) November 24, 2020
Lennon is excited about the decision and optimistic that the world will follow.
“We are in the final miles of a long journey, and I am heartened by the support for the Period Products Bill. I am optimistic that we will complete that ground-breaking journey today.
This is a truly remarkable decision for women everywhere. While the bill makes an enormous effort to create equality in Scotland, it also sets a precedent for the rest of the world. Finally, the unequal financial strain on menstruating humans is being acknowledged.
In some warming last words Lennon told the press: “We have got here because we have worked together. We have shown that this Parliament can be a force for progressive change when we collaborate.
“Our prize is the opportunity to consign period poverty to history. In these dark times we can bring light and hope to the world this evening.”