Scotland becomes first country to offer free menstrual hygiene products

at 6:11 pm

New Delhi (NVI): In a historic step to ensure personal hygiene for women, Scotland has become the first country to allow free and universal access to menstrual products, including sanitary napkins and tampons, for everyone.

The Scottish Parliament has unanimously passed The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, which makes it legally mandatory for all public institutions to provide period products to all those who need them.

The bill was brought forward by Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), Monica Lennon, and was approved by 121 votes to zero after it earned the support of the Scottish government and the other opposition parties.

Period poverty is a term that defines the struggle to pay for basic sanitary products every month. Charities claimed there has been a rise in such cases due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme is likely to cost around £8.7 million (around Rs 86 crore) every year till 2022. Lennon cited official inequality statistics that showed nearly 20 per cent women in Scotland were living in relative poverty.

“On the issue of period dignity, I am beyond proud that Scotland is leading the way and we have moved at a fast pace in a short space of time,” the MSP Monica Lennon said.

Lennon further said that Scotland will not be the last country to make period poverty history. She said the new rule was a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved.

After the passing of the bill, the sanitary products will be made available in public buildings including schools and universities across Scotland. The new rules stipulate that the local authorities are required to ensure the free availability of the products.