Scotland is earning nods from women around the world as the first country to make free access to period products a legal right. Members of the Scottish Parliament have approved the bill authored by Monica Lennon, who has been championing the campaign to end “period poverty.”
According to the Daily Record, the bill requires schools, colleges and universities to provide free period products (like tampons and pads) in their restrooms. Local authorities are also required to come up with a similar scheme.
“Scotland will not be the last country to consign period poverty to history, but we have the chance to be the first,” Lennon said prior to the final decision.
Tonight, we have made history.
Scotland will be the first country in the world to make access to free period products a legal right. pic.twitter.com/WGOQeiip0l
— Scottish Labour (@ScottishLabour) November 24, 2020
Lennon started the campaign to end period poverty back in 2016. Since then, she has garnered a lot of support from the youth, Lanarkshire Carers Centre, Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire College.
“I’ve also enjoyed working with young people and it’s great that our local schools and colleges are already providing free period products. The campaign is about much more than access to pads and tampons, it’s also about ending the stigma around periods and promoting menstrual well-being.”
And she’s not wrong. The World Bank tells us that 8% of Filipino girls missed school in 2019 due to menstruation. If young women are educated and empowered to manage their menstruation “hygienically, with confidence and without shame,” they’ll be more likely to stay in school even through puberty. Proper education on this natural reproductive cycle will also help women reach their full potential as they are less likely to have kids when they aren’t ready yet.
Hopefully our government appreciates and follows this important advancement from Scotland. We can’t wait to see the day when the stigma around a perfectly natural bodily function and reproductive health is lifted.
Art by Nimu Muallam
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