Scotland backs plan for free sanitary products

Proposed law comes as research suggests one in four young women suffer from period poverty

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Planned legislation to end period poverty in Scotland by providing universal access to free sanitary products has received overwhelming from the public.

A consultation on the proposal, put forward by Labour MSP Monica Lennon, showed 96% of people supported it becoming law.

The plan has also received broad support from trade unions and charities across Scotland, STV reports.

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If passed, the bill would introduce a legal duty on the Scottish Government to develop a universal system to provide free sanitary products for anyone who requires them.

“Access to sanitary products should be a basic right but sadly in Scotland we know not everyone can afford or obtain what they need,” Lennon said.

The Labour politican added: “The time is right to legislate – Scotland can lead the world on this.”

It follows a six-month pilot scheme in Aberdeen to provide free sanitary items for women and girls in low-income households, which the government today announced would be extended.

Researched published to coincide with International Women’s Day revealed one in four women at school, college and university struggle to pay for basic sanitary products.

The survey by Young Scot found 71% had been forced to ask someone else for a tampon or pad, while 70% said they resorted to using toilet paper as an alternative.

Over a woman’s lifetime, sanitary products cost more than £5,000, with women spending around £13 every month, according to The Guardian.

Women on low incomes say they are often forced to choose between buying food or sanitary products. “It’s a real choice for lots of women to have to make,” Kerry Wright, a single mother from Aberdeen told the newspaper.

“You’ll just be praying that your period doesn’t start at the stage in the month when there isn’t much food in the cupboard,” she added.

Social media users welcomed Lennon’s campaign action, and demanded more action to end the phenomenon of period poverty:

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