Scotland: First country to make free sanitary products access a legal right
Scotland is now the world’s first country to pass a law for protection of the right to free period products, thereby marking a critical step towards engaging to bring down the “period poverty”. The Period Products Act 2021 legally came into effect starting Monday. Under the law, the local authorities and education providers across Scotland will now have a legal duty to make free period products accessible to anyone in need of them.
The Scottish Government is said to have invested more than £27 million (€32 million) towards funding for access to period products in various public settings. The new law is said to “cement this progress” further. Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Monica Lennon, who campaigned for the free sanitary product access legislation, said she was “proud to have pioneered the new law”.
“Local authorities and partner organisations have worked hard to make the legal right to access free period products a reality,” she said. “I’m grateful to them and the thousands of people who have got involved across the country. This is another big milestone for period dignity campaigners and grassroots movements which shows the difference that progressive and bold political choices can make.”
Proud of what we have achieved in Scotland. We are the first but won’t be the last. 🏴🩸🙌#PeriodDignity #FreePeriodProducts #MenstrualJustice follow @Period_Poverty for updates. https://t.co/8bFTML3MkK— Monica Lennon MSP (@MonicaLennon7) August 15, 2022
“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,” she added.
In a document towards support to the legislation, Lennon said it can be expected that about 20 per cent of the menstruating population will use the program and benefit from it. This was based on the statistics that show at least 20 per cent of women in Scotland are living in relative poverty.
Scotland’s social justice secretary Shona Robison has called the providing access to free sanitary products was “fundamental to equality and dignity”.
People can locate the nearest collection point for the period products through the PickupMyPeriod mobile app. The app was launched earlier this year by social enterprise Hey Girls along with support from the Scottish Government. “The Period Product Act shows Scotland is leading the way in recognising that period products are not a luxury and should be freely available to all,” said Celia Hodson, the founder of social enterprise Hey Girls.
This is truly a historic day for our country.— Hey Girls (@HeyGirlsUK) August 15, 2022
Thank you to the Scottish parliament and lawmakers – but more importantly, thank you to every single one of you who has campaigned.
Our fight is not yet over. #Scotland #HeyGirls #PeriodPoverty https://t.co/GBJ7B4VF7M
Scotland had become the first country in 2018 to provide free sanitary products access to all in schools, colleges and universities.