Scotland has officially become the first country in the world to make period products free and available for anyone who needs them.
Under the landmark legislation, which lawmakers passed unanimously in November 2020, the Scottish government will collaborate with local authorities to help anyone who needs period products get them free of charge.
This means that people will have the legal right of free access to tampons and sanitary pads in schools, colleges, universities and public buildings, as well as a “reasonable choice of different period products” and the option to have products delivered to them.
The measures are aimed at ending period poverty – when people cannot access basic sanitary products when they need them.
This may be due to a variety of factors, from poverty, homelessness, abusive relationships, some health conditions and being transgender.
Women are estimated to spend around £13 ($17) a month on period products and thousands of pounds over a lifetime, the Guardian reported.
In 2018, Scotland became the first country in the world to provide free sanitary products to students at schools, colleges and universities.
“Proud of what we have achieved in Scotland,” Monica Lennon, the lawmaker who submitted the draft proposal tweeted on Monday. “We are the first but won’t be the last.”
According to charities, period poverty increased in the pandemic, with almost a third of people age 14 to 21 having problems affording or gaining access to sanitary products during the UK’s first national lockdown.
Lennon and other lawmakers said that the next step will be to end the stigma and embarrassment surrounding periods.