Nine months after taking a first step in this direction, Scottish MPs voted on Tuesday, November 24 in favor of free access to periodic protection to fight against menstrual insecurity, a first in the world on this scale.
On Twitter, the Scottish Prime Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, shared her “Proud to have voted for this revolutionary law, which makes Scotland the first country in the world to provide free periodic protection to all those who need it”.
The 121 members of the local Parliament of Holyrood all approved this text, which aims to introduce into law the right to access free tampons and sanitary napkins. “We all agree that no one should have to worry about their next reusable pads or protectors”, Scottish Labor MP Monica Lennon told Parliament, at the origin of the bill.
The Scottish government will now have to allow anyone who needs tampons or sanitary napkins anywhere in Scotland to get them free of charge. Schools, high schools and universities will have to make a range of periodic protections available free of charge in their toilets. The Scottish Government may also compel public bodies to provide these products free of charge.
“A proud day for Scotland”
Despite initial opposition and fears over the measure’s cost estimated at £ 9.7million (around € 11million) per year, the bill made its way through to adoption on Tuesday, with support from the Scottish government.
Monica Lennon’s campaign had been supported by a broad coalition of unions, women’s organizations and charities. On Twitter, the deputy thanked “All those who campaigned” as well as his parliamentary colleagues who approved the text. “It is a proud day for Scotland and a signal to the world that it is possible to set up free universal access to periodic protection”, she stressed.
Thank you to everyone who has campaigned for period dignity and to my MSP colleagues for backing the Bill tonight.… Https://t.co/TaLJcOsAJV
Rose Caldwell, managing director of the charity Plan International UK, praised the role “Pioneer” of Scotland. She recalled the importance of this law, explaining that a “Toxic trio” problems caused menstrual insecurity: the “Cost of hygienic protection”, the ” lack of education “ and the “Stigma and shame associated with rules”.
In France, the free distribution of hygienic protections has been tested in several middle and high schools as well as among women in precarious situations.