Scotland has just passed a new groundbreaking law which makes period products free for all, and in doing so becomes the first country in the world to make period products available at no charge.
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill was passed unanimously on Tuesday, after it was first introduced to the Scottish Parliament in 2017, according to ABC News.
The new scheme, estimated to cost around 24 million pounds per year ($44 million), provides free access to period products to consumers, while compensating suppliers.
In addition, all educational institutions as well as other public centres, would need to make period products freely available in bathrooms.
The scheme is expected to be fully operational by 2022.
This is a “proud day for Scotland”, said Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who was the instigator of the bill.
“This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates,” Ms Lennon said.
As a first-term MSP, I had no idea how challenging it would be to a steer a member’s bill through Parliament. Whether you are an opposition MSP, a Minister or a campaign group, you can’t achieve anything alone. It wasn’t easy but together we got there. A big day for Scotland https://t.co/iV3PSUqXpw pic.twitter.com/naFT3fH8R5
— Monica Lennon (@MonicaLennon7) November 24, 2020
Stop Period Poverty
‘Period poverty’, where those who menstruate are not able to afford period products, has become a global issue. Some have to resort to using old clothes or newspaper or just nothing.
In most countries around the world, charities have been responsible for helping to alleviate ‘period poverty’ but some countries are taking further steps to help.
Other Countries Are Making Progress
Early this year, England and Wales introduced free period products in primary and secondary schools.
A handful of US states are providing free period products in schools and there is a campaign to scrap taxes on period items.
At home in Australia, GST is no longer charged on period products, since January 2019.
But Scotland is the first country to go all the way in making period products free and accessible to all.
Do you think period products should be free in Australia? Tell us in the comments below.