In a move that should definitely, definitely be adopted by other countries, Scotland is to become the first to offer free period products to those who need them. You might have heard about this new initiative in the past – the legislation was initially proposed in 2020, by Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who received unanimous backing from the Scottish parliament. And now it’s set to actually go ahead.
The country is the first in the world to introduce this law to protect to the right to free period products. From today, the Period Products Act is live, meaning councils, schools and other education providers will be legally required to provide sanitary products ‘reasonably easily’.
Currently, menstruation items are offered without cost in schools, colleges and universities in Scotland. The new act means councils are likely to make them free and accessible in other public spaces too.
MSP Lennon said this is a progressive step towards ending period poverty, something she has campaigned for since 2016. ‘I’m proud to have pioneered the Period Products Act which is already influencing positive change in Scotland and around the world,’ she said. ‘This is another big milestone for period dignity campaigners and grassroots movements which shows the difference that progressive and bold political choices can make.’
Shona Robison, Scotland’s social justice secretary, said this move is especially pertinent, given the cost-of-living crisis, and that providing access to free period products ‘is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them’. ‘We are proud to be the first national government in the world to take such action,’ she added.
Let’s hope other countries take note...