Scotland is set to become one of the first countries to make period products free
The fight for menstrual equity all across the world has made great strides over the years, with new organizations arising and new policies being set into place for the betterment of women and young girls. However, one thing that hasn’t been seen yet is the ability for women to have full and free access to period products, especially the women and young girls that struggle the most. For one country, this is well on it’s way to becoming a reality. As of this month, Scotland is set to become the first country in the world to make period products free for all women and young girls! And you may be wondering, will this be something that the U.S. will be able to do in the future? This policy in Scotland starts the discussion about what accessibility around period products means, and if it should be a benefit for those that experience period poverty only.
The policy, the Period Products (Free Provision) bill, was introduced by Monica Lennon, a Labour member of the Scottish Parliament. Lennon has been on a mission for quite some time to help put an end to period poverty after being elected into Parliament in May 2017. The bill passed the first stage of the approval process and is hoping to make its full journey into legislation. The bill received a total of 112 votes in favor and zero objections after going through the first process.
For some ministers of Parliament, they weren’t initially swayed by the need for the bill, but after receiving an immense amount of pressure from campaign groups, their views were quickly changed. The pressure from these campaign groups highlights the importance of advocacy and raising awareness!
One of the biggest concerns for the implementation of the bill is the cost. Members of Parliament have stated that they “will now need to pull out all the stops and work hard collectively and collaboratively” due to the underestimated cost of the bill. However, as of this moment, the Scottish government has provided 5.2 million Scottish dollars. Do you think the matter of cost would outweigh the matter of need for women and young girls in the U.S.?
The Period Products (Free Provision) Bill will help ease a lot of the stress placed on women and young girls experiencing period poverty! In Scottish schools, free period products have been available for students since 2018 and now the entire country is catching up with the move towards accessibility and ease for all women and young girls. A survey was conducted and that of the more than 2,000 surveyors (female), 1 in 4 at schools, colleges and universities in Scotland struggled to access period products. This survey served as the catalyst for the implementation of free period products in Scottish schools, further showing the need for period products outside of schools as well.
Scotland is without a doubt changing the scope of what it means for women and young girls to have accessibility, but is this something that can realistically happen anywhere else in the world? Should it happen?
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