Scotland becomes first country in the world to make period products free

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  • The country has taken a step to end period poverty, granting free access to items such as sanitary pads, tampons and reusables
  • The law will require schools, colleges and universities to provide the products as needed
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Scotland will become the first country in the world to make period products available for free. Photo: DPA

In a world first, the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation making period products freely available to all.

Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill, brought forward by Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon, will bring in the legal right of free access to items such as tampons and sanitary pads.

Under the bill, the Scottish Government must set up a nation-wide scheme to allow anyone who needs period products to get them free of charge. It will also require schools, colleges and universities to make a range of period products available for free.

The bill will also give the Scottish Government the power to make other public bodies provide period products for free.

“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, Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a tweet after the vote.

Lennon said the bill was a practical and progressive piece of legislation, made all the more vital because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to news agency Press Association.

“Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important.

This Hong Kong is working to end period poverty, one reusable pad at a time

“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,” she added.

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