Scotland makes history becoming first country to legislate provision of free period products

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Scotland has become the first country in the world to legislate free period products for women and girls in need.

The products will be available in locations such as education facilities, cafes and community centres. There will also be an app called ‘Pick Up My Period’ available for free download which can be used to find the nearest collection points and provide details on which range of products is available.

The Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Bill was unanimously backed by the Scottish Parliament in November 2020 but only came into force on Monday, 15 August 2022.

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, Shona Robison, says the scheme would make a significant difference during the cost of living crisis.

“We know from feedback coming from food banks, for example, that women and girls have been supported to access free [period] products through food bank provision because they can’t afford to buy them, and no one should be in that position. I think recognising that was part of the motivation to bring in this world-leading legislation,” added Robison.

The bill was first proposed by opposition Labour Party lawmaker, Monica Lennon, who has been campaigning for the new law since 2016.

“Over time the Scottish Government could really see the benefit of doing this, it’s really helped to improve attendance at school; to help people feel valued in the workplace; to help people who have health issues like endometriosis or other disabilities,” said the lawmaker on the benefits of enacting such legislation.

Lennon said on Monday that the affordability of period products had led to exclusion, reduced school attendance and unsafe use of sanitary items. She also said some “enlightened employers” had begun introducing period provisions in their companies despite not being required to do so under the new legislation.