This week, the parliament of Scotland approved plans to make sanitary products free-of-charge for all women.
They’re the first nation to do this and this legislation will make tampons and pads available at certain public places like pharmacies, youth clubs, and community centers.
The estimated annual cost for this program will be 24.1 million pounds or $31.2 million.
The name of the bill is The Period Products Scotland and it was passed through the first stage with 112 votes in favor.
There was no one against and there was one abstention.
It will now pass into the second stage.
What Happens in the Second Stage with this Bill?
The members of the devolved parliament in Scotland will propose amendments.
The proposer of the bill, Monica Lennon, said that passing the bill is a milestone moment for the normalization of menstruation in Scotland.
She also said that this move will send out a signal to all people in this country about how seriously their parliament takes gender equality.
Alison Johnstone, fellow lawmaker, asked why toilet paper is seen as necessity in 2020, but products for periods aren’t.
Johnstone further added that being financially penalized for a natural function of the body ‘isn’t equitable or just’.
Scotland’s Fight for Menstruation Normalization
Back in 2018, this country was the first to provide free sanitary products in colleges, universities, and schools.
In the neighboring UK, the sanitary products are taxed at 5 percent.
The former PM David Cameron’s government said they wanted to cease the tampon tax; however, their hands were tied by EU rules that set taxes for some products.
Even though they announced a drop of the tax in 2016, nothing has changed since.
Lennon also joined a rally outside of the parliament in Scotland and held a sign that said ‘access to menstrual products is a right. Period.’
The Issue of Period Poverty
We need to care about this topic because more than 800 million people menstruate daily and many of them struggle with period poverty. We need to ensure clean water and sanitation for all people and put an end to this ongoing problem.
A key for this is menstrual equality. Period poverty is poor access to sanitary products, lack of menstrual hygiene education, toilets, handwashing facilities, and management of waste.
In the US, a lot of states have passed laws than mandate from schools to provide period packs to students and deem it pivotal as toilet paper; however, more work is needed.