Period products law to come into force in Scotland in world first

New legislation comes into force across the country on Monday.

Scotland set to become first country in the world to protect right to access free period products iStock

Scotland is set to become the first country in the world to protect the right to access free period products in law.

From Monday, councils and education providers will be legally required to make period products available free of charge to anyone who needs them.

The change is being brought about due to new legislation coming into force across the country.

MSPs unanimously approved the legislation back in November, 2020.

Plans to tackle period poverty by making sanitary products available to all free of charge were put forward by Labour MSP Monica Lennon.Getty Images

It was brought forward by Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who has campaigned to end period poverty.

“I’m proud to have pioneered the Period Products Act which is already influencing positive change in Scotland and around the world,” said Lennon.

“Local authorities and partner organisations have worked hard to make the legal right to access free period products a reality.

“I’m grateful to them and the thousands of people who have got involved across the country.

“This is another big milestone for period dignity campaigners and grassroots movements which shows the difference that progressive and bold political choices can make.

“As the cost-of-living crisis takes hold, the Period Products Act is a beacon of hope which shows what can be achieved when politicians come together for the good of the people we serve.”

The Scottish Government has invested over £27m since 2017 to fund access to period products in a range of public settings.

Social justice secretary Shona Robison underlined the importance of the legislation in the face of the cost-of-living crisis.

“Providing access to free period products is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them,” she said.

“This is more important than ever at a time when people are making difficult choices due to the cost of living crisis and we never want anyone to be in a position where they cannot access period products.

“Since 2018, we have delivered ground-breaking action by providing free period products for pupils and students in all our schools, colleges and universities.

“We are proud to be the first national government in the world to take such action.”

Robison expressed her gratitude for the young women and girls who she said had been “crucial” in developing the law change.

“The work we are doing in Scotland continues to be world leading, going goes beyond provision of free products,” she continued.

“We have also provided funding for an educational website for employers, run a successful anti-stigma campaign, and improved menstrual health resources available for schools.

“I’m grateful to all the young women and girls who have been crucial in developing the best ways to access products to meet their needs.”

Celia Hodson, founder of Hey Girls, said they hope the Act will help those in need.

“The Period Product Act shows Scotland is leading the way in recognising that period products are not a luxury and should be freely available to all,” she said.

“Through our PickupMyPeriod app, we work to ensure no-one in Scotland is left without access to period products and are well on the way to achieving that with more than 1,000 locations highlighted to users.

“We hope the Act will help those in need and that our app will be of support to many more as our network continues to grow.”

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