Scotland has become the first country in the world to make period products free to all people who need them.
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill was passed with a unanimous vote through the Scottish parliament on Tuesday, following three years of debate and a grassroots movement.
The legislation, which was introduced by Labour MSP Monica Lennon, will see the Scottish government establish a nation-wide scheme that will allow anyone who needs period products to have access to them free of charge. The Scottish government will be obliged to make sure the scheme is facilitated and effective.
Also, schools, universities and colleges will be required to make period products freely available in on-site toilets, while public bodies and institutions will need to offer period products on a universal basis.
Before the vote in parliament, Lennon said the legislation was world-leading, and that “Scotland will not be the last country to consign period poverty but it has the chance to be the first”.
After the vote, she said it was a “signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved.”
Under the new law, free postal delivery of period products will be made available to those who are unable to collect them in person. This goes for people with mobility issues, caring responsibilities and those living in rural and regional areas. The legislation will also ensure that particular groups, for example trans people, can access products safely.
All types of period products have been considered and include pads, tampons, reusable products like menstrual cups, and the legislation allows for the provision of any products which are developed in the future.
As a first-term MSP, I had no idea how challenging it would be to a steer a member’s bill through Parliament. Whether you are an opposition MSP, a Minister or a campaign group, you can’t achieve anything alone. It wasn’t easy but together we got there. A big day for Scotland 🏴🩸 https://t.co/iV3PSUqXpw pic.twitter.com/naFT3fH8R5— Monica Lennon (@MonicaLennon7) November 24, 2020
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon posted on social media that she was proud to vote for the legislation.
“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. An important policy for women and girls,” she wrote.
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. An important policy for women and girls. Well done to @MonicaLennon7 @ClydesdAileen and all who worked to make it happen https://t.co/4lckZ4ZYIY— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) November 24, 2020