Scotland becomes first country in the world to offer free period products

The legislation was introduced by Labour MSP Monica Lennon

Saman Javed
Monday 15 August 2022 09:01 BST
Labour MSP Monica Lennon explains her bill to make period products available in Scotland

Scotland has become the first country in the world to protect the right to access free period products.

The Period Product Act, which comes into effect on Monday (15 August), legally requires councils and education providers to make period products freely available to anyone who needs them.

The legislation was first proposed by Labour MSP Monica Lennon and was unanimously approved by the Scottish Parliament in 2020.

Lennon, who has been campaigning to end period poverty since 2016, described the change in law as a “big milestone...which shows the difference that progressive and bold political choices can make”.

“I’m proud to have pioneered the Period Products Act which is already influencing positive change in Scotland and around the world,” Lennon said.

“Local authorities and partner organisations have worked hard to make the legal right to access free period products a reality.

“I’m grateful to them and the thousands of people who have got involved across the country.

“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.”

As per the Act, local councils will be responsible for ensuring that anyone who needs period products can “reasonably easily” obtain them “free of charge”.

Since 2017, the Scottish Government has spent around £27 million to fund access to period products in public settings.

People can find their nearest pickup point for free products through the PickUpMy Period mobile app, which was launched earlier this year in partnership with social enterprise Hey Girls.

In 2018, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free to students in schools, colleges and universities.

Social justice secretary Shona Robison commented: “Since 2018, we have delivered ground-breaking action by providing free period products for pupils and students in all our schools, colleges and universities. We are proud to be the first national government in the world to take such action.

“The work we are doing in Scotland continues to be world leading, going goes beyond provision of free products. We have also provided funding for an educational website for employers, run a successful anti-stigma campaign, and improved menstrual health resources available for schools.

“I’m grateful to all the young women and girls who have been crucial in developing the best ways to access products to meet their needs.”

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