To fight and overcome ‘Period Poverty’, the Scottish government unveiled a 2.5 million Euros worth of scheme. All schools, colleges and universities will have access to free sanitary hygiene products under the scheme. As this happens, Scotland becomes the first country ever that made sanitary products accessible for free to 395, 000 students and scholars. The step is one of its kinds to “banish the scourge of period poverty”. It comes at a time when in most countries, sanitary products are heavily taxed and views as a luxury.
A survey conducted recently by Young Scot on 2,000 people. It reported that one in four school, college and university respondent experience difficulty in accessing sanitary products. Another study by the grassroots group Women for Independence showed that about one in every five women had faced period poverty.
The Scottish government worked with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), Colleges Scotland, Universities Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council to work on the scheme. Communities secretary Aileen Campbell said that it was unacceptable that in a country as rich as Scotland, anyone should struggle to buy sanitary products. He also added that he took pride as Scotland takes the world-leading initiative in fighting period poverty.
Councillor Alison Evison, President of Cosla explained the motive behind the policy. She said that it ensured that a young person is not be deprived of education for of lack of access to sanitary products. Alison also added that the step would reduce the stigma surrounding periods. It as well helps build a more open conversation around it.
Earlier in February, the Scottish parliament approved of making sanitary products available to all its women. The legislation made tampons and sanitary pads accessible for free in public spaces including community centres, youth clubs and pharmacies. The estimated budget of the legislation is around 24.1 million pounds. The Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Bill passed with 112 votes in its first stage. It witnessed no opposition, and 1 abstention. Monica Lennon proposed the Free Provision Bill in the Parliament. Lennon said that it was a “milestone moment for normalising menstruation in Scotland and sending out that real signal to people in this country about how seriously parliament takes gender equality.”
Aniston Johnstone had also questioned the luxurious approach to sanitary products. She asked, “Why is it in 2020 that toilet paper a necessity but period products aren’t? Being financially penalised for a natural bodily function is not equitable or just.”