Scotland Becomes First Country to Provide Free Period Products
MONDAY, Aug. 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) — On Monday, Scotland became the world’s first country to help its residents with what activists supporting the move call “period poverty.” The country now offers free period products for anyone who needs them, a decision first made in November 2020 by unanimous approval in the Scottish Parliament, according to CBS News.
Making these products available is “fundamental to equality and dignity,” said Shona Robison, the government’s social justice secretary. “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.”
Scots can access the products at more than 1,000 locations through the mobile app PickupMyPeriod, the government said in a press release. That app was launched this year by Hey Girls, an organization created by Celia Hodson with her two daughters in 2018. Hodson said that the legislation recognizes that “period products are not a luxury.”
The new law also requires educational facilities to supply free menstrual products in restrooms.
According to a 2018 survey by Young Scot Enterprise, inability to access period products because of cost has been a problem for more than 25 percent of respondents enrolled in secondary schools, colleges, or universities. About 24 percent of those not in school said they also struggled to find the appropriate products, with 61 percent of those respondents saying they could not afford them.
Both groups said they had been forced to use alternatives, including toilet paper. Infection is among the concerns with people not being able to access proper products or enough of them, according to the United Nations Population Fund. This can lead to greater infection risk if, for example, someone who cannot frequently change a tampon has a buildup of bacteria that can lead to potentially deadly toxic shock syndrome, CBS News reported.