Scotland Becomes the First Country to Make Menstrual Products Free

menstrual cup in hand

Scotland’s parliament recently passed a law that makes menstrual products free to any woman, girl, or trans person, making them the first country in the world to do so. This was all done in an effort to end period poverty in the country. The pandemic has only exacerbated the issue, with many around the world having previously received sanitary products through schools and universities. Two years ago, Scotland made menstrual products free to schools and universities and this law expands on that, providing products in government and public buildings and even delivering them if needed. 

The country’s first Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter she “was proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation” and called the historic law an “important policy for women and girls.” She went on to thank lawmaker Monica Lennon, who was responsible for submitting the draft proposal. Before the final vote passed on November 24th, Lennon went on to say of her fellow colleagues, “We have shown that this parliament can be a progressive force for change when we collaborate.” She added, “Our prize is the opportunity to consign period poverty to history. In these dark times, we can bring life and hope to the world this evening.”

Cabinet Secretary for communities and local government Alice Campbell spoke on the poverty aspect of this issue as well as the power behind this government’s unity on ending the crisis. According to Campbell, it’s “clear that everyone in this chamber agrees that no one in our society should have to suffer the indignity of not having the means to meet their basic needs and that being able to access period products is fundamental to equality and dignity.”

She added that this issue is more important now than ever because periods don’t stop during a pandemic and that “ensuring women’s health, in general, will remain high on the political agenda in Scotland and that we will end all stigma around menstruation.”

The Realist Woman’s take:

This is a historic move on behalf of Scotland. No other country has done this and I think every country should. Period poverty has been an ongoing crisis but this year has been truly devastating in terms of accessing sanitary products through schools and women’s centers which have been closed and overwhelmed by the need due to the pandemic. 

This is a moment of leadership from Scotland and I hope other countries follow their lead. The education of millions of girls depends on it and the well being of all who use these products matters when it comes to menstrual care.