Period products will be available for free in public institutions.
In a tweet posted to the official Scottish Parliament Twitter yesterday, Scotland’s governing body announced that in a unanimous vote, a new law requiring period products for women to be free has been passed.
According to statistics from the Scottish government, approximately 220,000 women between the ages of 12 and 54 were living in poverty in 2018. Due to their financial situation, many of these women do not have access to sanitary products on a consistent basis, if at all. This can be dangerous for both mental health, as periods can cause anxiety, and physical health, as prolonged usage of a single tampon can cause life-threatening diseases.
“Despite the fact that a pack of sanitary pads can be found in most supermarkets for a couple of pounds and might not seem like a huge expense — when you have no or very little income, it can be insurmountable,” Scottish Parliament member Monica Lemon wrote in 2017. Lemon was the member who introduced the bill last year, and was a driving force in getting it voted in.
To combat the problem, the Scottish government will be setting up a universal system that will provide free period products in multiple public institutions, including schools and universities and public restrooms. Local authorities and educators will also be required to have free products on standby.
Based on the Parliament’s math, enacting this plan will cost the government approximately £8.7 million over the next three years, though the exact figure will depend heavily on how much these services are utilized.