Scotland becomes the first country to offer all period products free of charge

Published 17 Aug, 2022 05:08pm

Images Staff

This includes tampons, sanitary pads and other menstrual products.

<p>Photo: Reuters</p>

Photo: Reuters

Two years after its legislation to make all menstrual products free of cost was passed, Scotland has become the first country in the world to offer period products free of charge.

According to the New York Times, this initiative is part of a global effort to end period poverty, which is a lack of access to tampons or sanitary pads due to high product costs. Monica Lennon, the lawmaker who had a hand in the Period Products Act, tweeted that this is just the beginning. Scotland might be “the first but won’t be the last” country to provide free period products.

“We are witnessing a massive culture change, where period stigma is no longer being tolerated,” Lennon said in an email to New York Times. “There’s more emphasis on menstrual well-being and a renewed focus on tackling medical misogyny.”

This historic change has already started inspiring others — Northern Ireland is considering a similar measure. There are other nations that have taken steps towards the same goal — New Zealand and Seoul offer free menstrual products in schools. “It gives me hope that we won’t be the last country to put access to free period products on the statute books,” Lennon said.

Shona Robison, Scotland’s social justice secretary, called free access to the products “fundamental to equality and dignity”. According to her, it removes the “financial barriers” to accessing them. “The cost of living is rising and many are making difficult choices. We never want anyone to be in a position where they cannot access period products,” she added.

In her email, Lennon said that period products would be available at public places such as libraries, swimming pools, public gyms, community buildings, town halls, pharmacies and doctors offices. The nearest location of the free products can be tracked using an app called PickupMyPeriod. It allows users to filter which products are available and how to find them at the location. Home delivery is also an option.