Scotland becomes the first country in the world to introduce universal access to period products after the unanimous passage of the “Breakthrough” legislation on the Holy Road.
Scottish Labor MSP Monica Lennon said no one in Scotland should go without period products like tampons and sanitary pads.
After years of campaigning, they introduced legislation for Holyrood in 2019, which is now in its final stages in the Scottish Parliament, which means it will become law.
Speaking at Holyrood, Miss Lennon said: “Scotland will not be the last country to transform the poverty of the times into history, but we have the opportunity to be the first.”
The Periodic Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill will ensure that anyone in need, including schools, colleges and universities, can access the periodical products.
Ms Lennon said it was a “practical and progressive” piece of legislation that made the corona virus pandemic even more crucial.
She said: “The era of pandemics is not over, and efforts to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables have never been more important.”
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister to write on Twitter, said: “We are proud to have voted in favor of this legislation, making Scotland the first country in the world to offer generic period products to all who need it.”
“We came here because we worked together. When we cooperate, we have proved that this Parliament can be a force for progressive change.
“Our gift is the opportunity to bring the poverty of the times into history. In this dark age we can give light and hope to the world this evening.”
After gaining the support of the Scottish Government and other opposition parties in Holyrood, her bill passed by zero to 121 votes.
Ministers initially opposed the legislation amid fears that it would cost more than $ 9.7 million a year.
Proud to vote for explosive legislation, making Scotland the first country in the world to offer generic period products to all in need. An important policy for women and girls. Well done Monica Lennon7 LyClydesdAileen Everyone who worked to implement it https://t.co/4lckZ4ZYIY
– Nicola Sturgeon (ic Nicola Sturgeon) November 24, 2020
Community Secretary Elaine Campbell praised the passage of the bill as an important moment for gender equality.
“It is a great honor to be here one day and we are committed to making Scotland the first country in the world to legislate,” she said.
Ms Campbell added that the legislation would go a long way in achieving equality and social justice in Scotland and elsewhere as other countries seek to follow in our footsteps.
Rose Caldwell, UK chief executive of Charity Plan International, said: “In this world’s first commitment, the Scottish Government has proven itself to be a leader in tackling poverty, and we hope countries around the world will follow suit.
“With this important piece of legislation, Scotland will soon become the first country in the world to eradicate poverty, and with homework away from corona virus control, demand has never increased.
“This new law will help ensure that no girl or woman in Scotland struggles to buy period products.”
She added that the legitimacy of the legislation would be crucial: “Poverty of the period leads to a toxic trio,” which includes the price of period products, the lack of education and the stigma and shame surrounding menstruation.
“For example, we know that only one-third (31 per cent) of girls in Scotland are teachers who can request school period products.
“That is why, along with product-based products, girls, schools, and parents need education and training to help ease the stigma and discomfort of the times and to increase costs.”