Scotland is now the first country in the world to offer free universal access to period products. Its parliamentarians voted unanimously in favour of the Period Products Bill. This makes it a legal right to have free access to sanitary products in public buildings.
Sanitary products are already free for pupils and students in Scotland. But this new bill now places a legal duty on ministers to set up a country-wide scheme to ensure anyone can get access to them.
Schools, colleges and universities must also make a range of period products available for free in their toilets.
“We all agree that no one should have to worry where their next tampon pads or reusable is coming from,” Monica Lennon, the MSP who introduced the bill, said before the Edinburgh vote.
“Scotland will not be the last country to consign period poverty to history but we have the chance to be the first.”
A provision in the new law will make it mandatory for schools to education to students to end the stigma of periods.
Lennon describes the legislation as “world-leading”, and says it has “been a long time coming”.
“That is a gender-equal Scotland, where no one has to go through the indignity of using unsuitable materials to mask their periods or stretch household budgets further to buy products for their children, or miss out on education — a Scotland where no one has to hide a tampon up their sleeve,” she said.