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A world first: Scotland’s effort to eradicate period poverty

Written by Lifestyle

Scotland’s Parliament approved a bill, at an estimated annual cost of 24.1 million pounds ($31.2 million), to make sanitary products (pads and tampons) freely available to all women of all ages in the country, which makes it the first country to end “period poverty”.

The legislation of this plan was approved last month, when it would make tampons and sanitary pads available at designated public places such as community centers, youth clubs and pharmacies.

Free menstrual products are already available to students in high schools, colleges and universities in Scotland

Free menstrual products are already available to students in high schools, colleges and universities in Scotland. And the bill was first proposed in 2017 by Labour’s Monica Lennon in a bid to tackle period poverty.

Monica Lennon, the lawmaker who submitted the draft proposal of the bill, said she was thrilled that it had attracted support across Scotland, including from civic groups and “individuals who have had their own lived experience of period poverty and know what it is like not to have access to products when they need them.”

This is a behaviour against stigma and poverty of menstrual period.Over 25 per cent of women in England, Scotland and Wales have missed work or school because they could not afford to buy menstrual products, according to a 2018 poll.

In England and Wales free sanitary products are now available in all primary and secondary schools

In England and Wales, free sanitary products are now available in all primary and secondary schools. The move will ensure pupils do not miss out on lessons due to their period, according to the Department for Education (DfE).

Anika George, founder of the FreePeriods campaign group, said: “As a grassroots, student-led movement, Free Periods has been fighting for every single child in this country to be able to go to school without worrying about their next pad or tampon.”

“Years of austerity and rising homelessness have pushed many women into a situation where their only options are to shoplift for these basic essentials or to go without,” said Mandu Reid, the leader of the Women’s Equality Party.

In 2018, women from low-income homes across Scotland were offered free sanitary products as part of a pilot scheme. The trial project in Aberdeen was funded by the Scottish government and distributed free products to more than 1,000 women.

Tampons are taxed at 5 percent in Britain – a levy that the British government has been unable to abolish because of European Union rules that class sanitary products as “luxury” products. The bloc has pledged to remove all taxes on menstruation products by 2022.

About 62 million pounds has been diverted to women’s charities since 2015

About 62 million pounds, or $80 million, collected in taxes on sales of sanitary products in Britain has been diverted to women’s charities since 2015, the minister for civil society, Mimi Davies, said last year.

The provision of free products is also aimed at combating the culture of silence and stigma surrounding menstruation, which the charity says can pose physical, sexual and mental health risks for young women. Nearly half of girls age 14 to 21 in Britain are embarrassed by their periods, the research found.

In January, women’s groups criticized supermarkets for putting up anti-shoplifting messages across sanitary product shelves, warning that such campaign stigmatize women who cannot afford the products.

Last modified: 12th March 2020

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