The Period Products Act makes Scotland the first country to offer free menstrual products in places of education.
Scotland has become the first country to make free access to period products in schools, colleges and universities a legal right.
The new legislation came into force today (Monday 15 August), meaning that councils and education providers in the country will have to ensure period products are free to anyone who needs them.
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A third of UK women and girls are in period poverty amid the cost of living crisis
Free period schemes have been offering free menstrual products in UK schools since 2020, but last month, research by Girlguiding found that over 32% of girls and young women said they could not access items at their place of education.
Its research also found that one in 10 students said they or their families can’t afford period products, and with the cost of living crisis not slowing down, Scotland’s law comes at a crucial moment.
The legislation leaves it up to individual councils to arrange how they will distribute the products, but the law demands that they must be reasonably easily available for use.
The bill, brought forward by Monica Lennon, a member of the Scottish parliament and Labour health spokeswoman, was passed unanimously in 2020. Lennon, who has been campaigning against period poverty since 2016, called the bill “practical and progressive”.
“This is another big milestone for period dignity campaigners and grassroots movements which shows the difference that progressive and bold political choices can make,” she said.
“As the cost of living crisis takes hold, the Period Products Act is a beacon of hope which shows what can be achieved when politicians come together for the good of the people we serve.”
Sharing the news on Twitter, period poverty campaigners Bloody Good Period wrote: “Well bloody done Scotland” while the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Rights wrote: “We know how much this will improve life for thousands of women and girls across the country.”
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