Scotland has become the first country in the world to protect the right to access free period products with a law that came into effect on Monday.

The Scottish parliament introduced the change by unanimously passing the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act in November 2020. The legislation made it a legal right to have free access to sanitary products in public buildings.

The legislation was first proposed by Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Monica Lennon.

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The Period Products Act means councils and education providers in Scotland have to make sanitary products free to those who need them.

The government has provided funding for an educational website for employers, improved menstrual health resources available for schools, and implemented a successful anti-stigma campaign.

Lennon, who has been campaigning to end period poverty since 2016, described the change in the law as a “big milestone which shows the difference that progressive and bold political choices can make”.

“I am proud to have pioneered the Period Products Act which is already influencing positive change in Scotland and around the world,” Lennon said.

Since 2017, the Scottish Government has spent around £27 million to fund access to period products in public settings. In 2018, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free to students in schools, colleges and universities.