Scotland Becomes First Nation to Provide Free Sanitary Products

Scotland Becomes First Nation to Provide Free Sanitary Products for All.

Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide free and universal access to period products after a four-year campaign that has fundamentally shifted the public discourse around menstruation.

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, which passed unanimously through its final stage on the evening of Tuesday, November 24, will place a legal duty on local authorities to make period products available for all those who need them, building on the work of councils like North Ayrshire, which has been providing free tampons and sanitary towels in its public buildings since 2018.

“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,” Nicola Sturgeon posted on Twitter.

During the debate, the bill’s proposer, Scottish Labour MP Monica Lennon, said: “No one should have to worry about where their next tampon, pad or reusable is coming from. Scotland will not be the last country to consign period poverty to history, but we have the chance to be the first,” she said.

In 2018, Scotland became the first country to provide free sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities. Some 10% of girls in Britain have been unable to afford sanitary products, according to a survey by the children’s charity Plan International in 2017, with campaigners warning many skip classes as a consequence.

Sanitary products in the United Kingdom are taxed at 5%, a levy that officials have blamed on European Union (EU) rules that set tax rates on certain products.


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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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