Scotland 'first country in world' to give free sanitary products to women on low incomes

At least 1,000 women and girls benefiting from Aberdeen pilot scheme

Catriona Webster
Wednesday 12 July 2017 09:53 BST
The Scottish Government's plan may be the first state-sponsored effort of its type
The Scottish Government's plan may be the first state-sponsored effort of its type

The Scottish Government will hand out free sanitary products to those in need in as part of a pilot project in Aberdeen.

At least 1,000 women and girls from low-income homes will benefit from the Scottish Government scheme which is backed by funding of £42,500.

It is potentially the first national government-sponsored effort of its type, according to The Scotsman.

The six-month pilot will be run by Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE), a social enterprise focused on improving health and wellbeing for those in poverty through the FareShare surplus food network.

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said: “It is unacceptable that any woman or girl in Scotland should be unable to access sanitary products.

“That is why, as part of our wider aims to eradicate poverty from our country, we are exploring how to make products freely available to low-income groups.

“The pilot in Aberdeen is a first step to help us understand the barriers women and girls face - and to help us develop a sensitive and dignified solution to making these products easily accessible to those who need them.”

CFINE chief executive Dave Simmers said: “CFINE and our 60 partner organisations engaged in Food Poverty Action Aberdeen are very aware of the cost and challenges of accessing sanitary products for many girls and women from low-income households.

“Over a woman's lifetime, sanitary products cost on average more than £5,000, a significant sum for those on low-income. Many cannot afford them and may use inappropriate methods or miss school.”

Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who has been a vocal campaigner on the issue of period poverty, said the move was welcome but did not go far enough.

She added: “I'm pleased the campaign I have started as an opposition MSP has pushed SNP ministers to act but the reality is that women and girls urgently need national action now.

“A pilot scheme is a welcome step in the right direction but we must go much further to help women and girls across the country who are facing a monthly struggle to access the products they need.

“We need to end period poverty and improve access to sanitary products right across Scotland, and that's why I will soon be launching a consultation on a member's bill proposal which will give all women in Scotland the right to access these products for free, regardless of their income.”


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