It was during the month of April, this year, that a Parliament-approved bill moved the nation of Scotland one step closer towards making sanitary products free for all. The Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Bill passed through the first stage with 112 votes in favour and one abstention. And, the driving force behind this bill, Monica Lennon, was expectedly thrilled with the attention and support the bill received.
Previously categorised under the realm of ‘luxury' products, a 5 per cent tax was levied on tampons by the British Government, with nearly 10 per cent of the girls being unable to afford sanitary products and another 19 per cent using alternatives such as rags, newspapers and toilet paper. This gave way to 'period poverty', which refers to the inability to access or afford sanitary products, along with being not so well-informed about menstruation and women's menstrual health.
Well, in a recent monumental development, Scotland successfully managed to make sanitary products free to all women, becoming the first nation in the world to end period poverty! According to this act, it is mandatory for all public institutions, such as community centres, youth clubs and pharmacies to provide sanitary products to all the women who require them.
The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, also stated that she was proud to vote for the historical legislation, which is an "important policy for women and girls."
This proud move by the nation of Scotland gave way to several reactions by the people of India as well:
This new provision doesn't solely promote menstrual hygiene and women’s health, but is also focused at fighting cultural stigma looming around the topic of menstruation. Arguing on various fronts, this so-called ‘women’s issue’ is more than just that, it's a matter of social justice.