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In World First, Scotland Moves to Make Tampons and Pads Free for All Women

Posted by on February 29, 2020 in Government, Policies, Politics with 0 Comments

Image Credit: The Mind Unleashed

By Emma Fiala | The Mind Unleashed

Earlier this week, Scotland’s parliament approved plans to make sanitary products free for all women making it one step closer to becoming the first nation in the world to do so.


The Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Bill passed the first of three stages by a vote of 112-0. There was one abstention. It will now move to the second stage, where amendments can be proposed.

If enacted, the legislation will make sanitary pads and tampons available for free in select public places such as pharmacies and community centers, effectively ending “period poverty.”

According to Plan International UK:

  • 42% of UK girls have had to use makeshift period products because they struggle to afford menstrual products

  • 1 in 10 girls in the UK are unable to afford period products

  • 27% of UK girls have used a period product for longer than its intended use because they couldn’t afford a fresh one

    The annual cost is projected to be $31.2 million (24.1 million pounds).

Monica Lennon, a Scottish Parliament member, initially proposed the bill in 2017. And in 2018, Scotland became the first country to make free sanitary products available across the country in schools, including colleges and universities.

The program was initiated following a survey of Scottish students that found 1 in 4 had struggled to access sanitary products.


During debate over the bill, Lennon also said that its passing would be an important “milestone moment for normalizing menstruation in Scotland and sending out that real signal to people in this country about how seriously parliament takes gender equality.”

Lawmaker Alison Johnstone said:

Why is it in 2020 that toilet paper is seen as a necessity but period products aren’t? Being financially penalized for a natural bodily function is not equitable or just.”

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