Scotland makes sanitary products free

Natalie Selensky

Many would argue that it is costly to be a woman. Women have to pay approximately $5600 over their lifetime on period products and over-the-counter medication to help cramps, according to Groundswell. That is about $120 per year. Imagine what $5600 could do to benefit anyone’s family. 

Scotland has become the first country to provide period products nationwide to its citizens. The Period Products Bill, first introduced years prior, was unanimously passed on Wednesday, November 25, and requires that products must be provided to the public. Students at schools and colleges will have access to newly funded products, as will people in public spaces. It is predicted by the government to cost about $32 million.   Although no countries have openly  stated their opposition to Scotland, money and only benefiting one demographic may be why no one has followed in their footsteps. 

Officials who helped pass this bill in Scotland thought this was a necessary change in a mission to end “period poverty.” Period poverty is when individuals who need products cannot access them because they cannot afford them. A survey conducted in Scotland showed out of 2000 people, one in four respondents that attend schooling of any level had difficulties affording or accessing products. This effort for the period bill gives products to the people that really need them. Adding on, lawmakers thought that it was a necessary bill in the state of today’s world, especially with the pandemic. Monica Lennon, a Scottish politician, is credited with helping the bill become official and is passionate about what it brings for the country.

“Periods   don’t   stop  for pandemics  and    the      work    to   improve   access  to    essential  tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important,” Lennon said.

Nicola Sturgeon, the current and first female Prime Minister of Scotland, was also pleased with this bill being passed. 

“Proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation, making Scotland the first country in the world to provide free period products for all who need them. An important policy for women and girls,” Sturgeon said on Twitter. 

At Xavier High School, junior Erin Doyle is happy to see this change being made in the world.

“It’s nice to see that necessity items are becoming more accessible to the masses, especially because they help women deal with something that they can’t control,” Doyle said. 

Lawmakers in Scotland made it clear that there is still a lot of work to do and they plan to work to end the shame that often surrounds menstruation. 

“Once access to period products is secured for all, our next steps must be women’s health, in general, which remains high on the political agenda in Scotland and that we end all stigma around menstruation,” Lennon said. 

With Scotland being the first country to make this big step in history, attention draws to other countries, and if they will do the same. Currently, the U.K. has had teams comprised of government departments, businesses, charities and manufacturers to focus on ending the stigma, along with some laws in the U.S. making products provided in schools mandatory. Period product taxes have also been lowered in other countries such as Canada, Australia and India, according to the BBC. 

Countries around the world are slowly, but surely, making changes. Scotland is now made an example for other countries to look to for their future decisions regarding this topic and has made history with this much-needed change.