The Scottish Parliament unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that will make all period products available to anyone who needs them for free.
The first country to do so, Scotland will now offer free items such as tampons and sanitary pads, according to the legislation.
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill has been passed unanimously by MSPs this evening.
— Scottish Parliament (@ScotParl) November 24, 2020
Under the legislation, the Scottish government must set up a nationwide plan that ensures the products are available for everyone free of charge and also requires schools and universities to make the products available free of charge.
While the Scottish government already funds free period products in schools and universities, the bill makes it a legal requirement. Local authorities will work with the Scottish government to ensure that anyone who needs the products can get them with ease.
The legislation requires a “reasonable choice of different period products” be available and also creates an option that will allow people to have the products delivered to them.
Labour Party lawmaker Monica Lennon has been campaigning since 2016 against “period poverty” which is when someone can’t afford sanitary products. Lennon said the legislation was “practical and progressive,” according to the Associated Press (AP)
“Because periods don’t stop in a pandemic, we didn’t give up,” Lennon tweeted Sunday. “The final vote on the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill is on Tuesday.”
Because periods don’t stop in a pandemic, we didn’t give up. The final vote on the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill is on Tuesday. 💪🩸#freeperiodproducts
Thank you to every single person who has made this possible. ❤️
— Monica Lennon (@MonicaLennon7) November 22, 2020
“Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important,” Lennon said, according to the AP. “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.” (RELATED: NBC Highlights Transgender Man’s Menstrual Pain: ‘I Felt Isolated’)
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, praised the vote on Twitter Tuesday.
“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.”
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
A recent study from Plan International U.K., a global children’s charity, showed that due to the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, 3 in 10 girls “struggle to afford or access sanitary wear.”