Scotland is home to beautiful countryside, free higher education and cheaper property prices amongst other things. On 24th November 2020 something happened in Scotland. SOMETHING BIG!
Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide free and universal access to period products after a four-year campaign that has changed the game on how menstruation is viewed in society today.
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, which passed will place a legal duty on local authorities to make period products available for all who are in need, regardless of income. Monica Lennon, Labour’s health spokeswoman took the lead in pushing the agenda for the provision which existed across the country on a charitable / voluntary basis by the community.
Lennon said: “This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates. There has already been great progress at a community level and through local authorities in giving everyone the chance of period dignity.’’
Period poverty, the struggle to afford basic sanitary products affects one in five women and yet only Scotland has done something about it. Research shows that women who are impacted suffer a deterioration of their health, hygiene and wellbeing.
It is time for us to normalise periods. In an age where children are being taught about their sexuality from a very young age would it not be appropriate to focus on basic biology first? We all know someone or have been in a position ourselves whereby our monthly gift has arrived unexpectedly and we are stranded asking other women if they can save us.
Of course there is always someone who will raise the issue of people who are able to afford to buy their own products / people taking more than they need abusing the provision but in the grand scheme of things this applies to most things in life and we cannot hinder progress due to the fear of abuse of the system by a minority of individuals.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that when in your office or stopping at a service along the motorway should you need a tampon or pad there was one waiting for you just as there is toilet roll which as far as I know is not being pinched from toilets across England just because it is readily available.
Scotland has set an amazing example of how the rights of women and girls can be put to the forefront of legislative change to normalise and help address real issues and societal norms that need to be challenged when it comes to menstruation and period poverty.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from period poverty there is help available. Organisations such as Bloody Good Period and Freedom4girls are both great charities who can help. For more practical help Morrisons has taken a great leap in the UK and launched a free discreet service. If you go to their customer service desk in any store and ‘ask for Sandy’ you will be given an envelope containing sanitary products for free with no questions asked.
How do you feel about the shift in attitude towards periods? Are there any initiatives where you live taken by the community to alleviate period poverty and normalise menstruation? What can we do to help our fellow sisters?Let us know in the comments!
Mother of 6 and passionate about advocating for equal opportunities for women in every walk of life. Doing my little bit to try and help by organising workshops and events to help women access more resources and help for issues that matter.