If the perfect climate and the high quality of life weren't reasons enough to make it one of the most ideal countries, Scotland recently raised the bar even higher by becoming the first nation to provide free pads and tampons. In almost unanimous voting, the Scottish Parliament supported the Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland bill. Having passed the first stage, the bill has now been elevated to Stage 2 where amendments would be proposed for it.
Once the bill finds a proper shape, women across Scotland would be able to avail free sanitary pads and tampons at a number of designated public spots including pharmacies, community centres, and youth clubs.
Bill’s proposer Monica Lennon was reported saying during the Parliament proceedings that if the Bill gets passed, it would indeed be a “milestone moment for normalising menstruation in Scotland and sending out that real signal to people in this country about how seriously parliament takes gender equality.”
Lenon's Fellow, Alison Johnstone, further added while supporting the bill “Why is it in 2020 that toilet paper is seen as a necessity but period products aren’t? Being financially penalised for a natural bodily function is not equitable or just.”
Scotland has been consistently exploring the possibility of making menstrual products more affordable across the country and it was in 2018 that they made sanitary products available for free in schools, colleges, and became the first country to do so.
Lennon has worked hard to make this bill a reality. She also joined a rally on Tuesday outside the Scottish parliament, holding a placard that read: “Access to menstrual products is a right. Period.” In fact, period-poverty happens to be one of the most pressing global health concerns right now and the scene in India remains rather dismal. As per a Global Citizen report, owing to period poverty "only 12% of menstruators have access to sanitary products, leaving the rest to use unsafe materials like rags and sawdust as an alternative."
India has had a long-standing struggle with period-poverty. The issue was also raised in the 2018 film Padman. However, apart from a few minor reforms, no concrete step has been taken in the direction. We hope that Scotland works as a gleaming example for all the countries struggling with period poverty thus resulting in significant reforms. Access to menstrual health is not a privilege but a basic right after all.
Featured Image: Instagram
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