Scotland has become the first country in the world to offer free and universal access to menstrual products, including tampons and pads.

According to reports, the Scottish Parliament voted unanimously in favour of the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, under which the Scottish government will introduce a nationwide program that will place a legal duty on all local authorities to make feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads freely available for those who need them.

It means period products will be available to access in public buildings including schools and universities across Scotland. According to the new rules, it will be up to local authorities and education providers to ensure the products are available free of charge.


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The campaign for free menstrual products was spearheaded by Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, Monica Lennon, who told media outlets that it was “a proud day for Scotland”.

“This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates,” said Lennon. “There has already been great progress at a community level and through local authorities in giving everyone the chance of period dignity.”

She added: “Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important.”

Period poverty – the struggle to pay for basic sanitary products on a monthly basis – reportedly surged during the coronavirus pandemic. Research has revealed that period poverty has a significant impact on women’s hygiene, health and wellbeing.

The new law was praised by a number of equality and women’s rights groups as well as politicians from across the parties represented in the Scottish Parliament.

“It’s an important message in the middle of a global pandemic that we can still put the rights of women and girls high up the political agenda,” remarked Lennon.