Published: Thu, February 27, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Scotland to approve free sanitary products for all women

Scotland to approve free sanitary products for all women

Campaigners from across Scotland's civic sector have lobbied for Ms Lennon's bill to become law.

A bill that would see period products offered for free across the nation has been back by Scottish MPs and has now passed its first vote in Scottish Parliament.

A consultation document proposed modelling the scheme on the card-based system for free condoms, where users register for a free card or voucher to exchange for the products. Products should also be available for delivery or collection.

Earlier this year, the British government introduced a scheme to provide free period products for all education organisations in England.

Monica, the Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, said she was thrilled after her bill was supported by girl guides, trade unions, anti-poverty charities and many other individuals who have had challenges in accessing the products.

"Scotland has already taken important steps towards improving access to period products and tackling stigma but legislation will guarantee rights, ensure that current initiatives continue in future on a universal basis, and will help us to achieve period dignity and equality for all".

Three years ago, in 2017, Scotland began offering sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities, becoming the first country in the world to do so, according to The Associated Press.

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All parties backed the bill on February 25.

Meng's "Menstrual Equity for All" bill also proposes changes like requiring corporations of 100 employees or more to provide free menstrual products to employees. Scottish women will be able to pick up tampons and pads at places like pharmacies and community centers. It transpired that the issue was not on the radar of ministers at all and that they had no plans at that time to assess affordability or accessibility of products.

Her "Menstrual Products Right to Know" bill would make tampons and pads just like most other products where manufacturers are required to list out their ingredients.

However, over the past five years the United Kingdom government has put money raised by VAT on period products into a tampon tax fund which is used to support women's organisations and charities.

And Tesco reduced the price of the period products it sold by 5% to cover the Value-Added Tax levied on these items.

Without access to period products, the independence of women and girls is stymied, and workplace productivity and educational attainment suffers.

A number of other countries have lowered or scrapped taxes on period products - including a dozen states in the U.S. and countries including Kenya, Canada, Australia, India, Columbia, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Nigeria, Uganda, Lebanon and Trinidad and Tobago.

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