lawmakers in Scotland are considering a revolutionary proposal to provide feminine hygiene products to the public at no cost.
The Period Products Bill is designed to eliminate “period poverty,” in which girls and women have difficulty accessing or affording pads and tampons.
As noted by one member of Parliament, “those who most need the free products are the ones who are almost guaranteed not to ask for them.”
The Period Products Bill cleared the first of three parliamentary stages with a vote of 112-0.
“This is an amazing victory for everyone who has campaigned for free universal access to period products and who has convinced the Scottish government to back this groundbreaking bill,” said MSP Monica Lennon, the bill’s sponsor.
“Scotland has already taken important steps towards improving access to period products and tackling stigma, but legislation will guarantee rights, ensure that current initiatives continue in the future on a universal basis, and will help us achieve period dignity for all.”
In 2018, Scotland became the first country in the world to offer free period products to students at all schools and universities. If Lennon’s proposal is signed into law, Scotland will also be the first nation to offer free pads and tampons to anyone that needs them.
The Period Products Bill has broken “the barrier of our inability to discuss such serious issues about our health and well-being in the media or in public without embarrassment,” noted MSP Neil Findley. “It was absolutely fantastic to see male industrial workers from Unite the union…out there campaigning on period poverty. Long may that continue.”
If passed, the proposal is expected to cost the Scottish government up to $31 million per year.