Scotland has recently made history by being the first country in the world to provide free and universal access to period products, a move that has shifted the public discussion around menstruation.
After four years of campaigning, The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act passed unanimously on Tuesday and will officially place a legal note on all local authorities to make period products available for all who need them, amplifying on the work done by councils like North Ayrshire which has been doing so since 2018.
Spearheaded by Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, Monica Lennon, she told the Guardian in an interview that this was “a proud day for Scotland”.
“This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates.” Lennon said.
“There has already been great progress at a community level and through local authorities in giving everyone the chance of period dignity.
“There has been a massive change in the way that periods are discussed in public life.
“A few years ago there had never been an open discussion of menstruation in the Holyrood chamber and now it is mainstream.
“MSPs have enjoyed being a part of that, and it has encompassed the menopause, endometriosis, as well as the types of products we use and their sustainability.”
The scheme would cost an estimated £8.7m a year and the legislation will require schools, colleges and universities to provides the products for free which was announced by first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in 2017.
In the meantime, a number of individual business such as restaurants, pubs and even football clubs – started providing free products independently which has made common for women in Scotland to walk into a women’s toilet and find free period products by the sinks, or with an honesty box.
“It’s an important message in the middle of a global pandemic that we can still put the rights of women and girls high up the political agenda.” said Lennon.