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Water & Sanitation

Scotland Is the First Country to Offer Free Sanitary Products to All Students


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Women and girls have long had to pay for tampons and sanitary pads in restrooms, leaving some without access to these basic necessities. Scotland’s new legislation is a symbol of trailblazing changes in the country. You can stand with Global Citizen by taking action here to support the UN’s Global Goal for gender equality.

Students at schools, colleges, and universities throughout Scotland will now have access to free sanitary products in a landmark policy change to eradicate period poverty.

The country is the first in the world to introduce such a measure, reported the Guardian.

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“I am proud that Scotland is taking this world-leading action to fight period poverty and I welcome the support of local authorities, colleges, and universities in implementing this initiative,” said communities secretary Aileen Campbell. “Our £5.2m investment will mean these essential products will be available to those who need them in a sensitive and dignified way, which will make it easier for students to full focus on their studies.”

Hey Girls, a social enterprise company, will be supplying the sanitary products to 395,000 pupils and students to help “banish the scourge of period poverty” — the common term to describe when girls and women struggle to pay for basic sanitary products on a monthly basis.

Champions of the action say it is a first of many changes to come.

“This is another great step forward in the campaign against period poverty,” said the Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lenno. “Access to period products should be a right, regardless of your income, which is why I am moving ahead with plans for legislation to introduce a universal system of free access to period products for everyone in Scotland.”

The timing couldn’t be more prescient, according to experts.

A recent survey revealed that 1 in 5 Scottish women experienced difficulty affording sanitary menstruation products, reported Quartz.

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With roughly 300 million people menstruating at any given time, many contend that free hygiene products should already be a standard practice worldwide, in the same way that toilet tissue is provided in all institutions, noted Quartz.

“No one should face the indignity of being unable to access these essential products to manage their period,” said Lennon.