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

25 November 2020, 13:28

Scotland is officially the first country in the world to provide free period products
Scotland is officially the first country in the world to provide free period products. Picture: Getty Images
Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

Period products will be free in public buildings in Scotland thanks to Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon.

Scotland has officially become the first country in world to provide free period products following a four-year campaign.

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill, which was passed on Tuesday (Nov 24) following a unanimous vote from Scotland's Parliament, makes it a legal right to provide free access to tampons and sanitary pads in public buildings.

Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon introduced the bill and has been working to eradicate period poverty since she was elected to Holyrood in 2016. Speaking to The Guardian about the new bill, she said: "This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates. There has already been great progress at a community level and through local authorities in giving everyone the chance of period dignity.

READ MORE: New Zealand set to provide school students with free sanitary products

U by Kotex Brand

"There has been a massive change in the way that periods are discussed in public life. A few years ago there had never been an open discussion of menstruation in the Holyrood chamber and now it is mainstream. MSPs have enjoyed being a part of that, and it has encompassed the menopause, endometriosis, as well as the types of products we use and their sustainability."

Sadly, period poverty has only increased in the UK since the coronavirus pandemic began. Period charity Bloody Good Period has supplied 53,000 products to food banks and shelters since the start of the pandemic in March – almost six times more than they were supplying before.

A survey conducted by Voucher Codes Pro found that British women spend an average of £13 on period products per month and as much as £18,450 on periods over the course of their lifetime.

How to get free sanitary products in Scotland

Under the new law it will be required that schools, colleges and universities provide free period products in their toilets. This will not be means-tested and is available to all who need the products. The Scottish Government will also have the power to make other public spaces provide period products for free. A number of businesses like restaurants and pubs have also started providing free products independently.