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Scotland passes Period Products Bill, becomes first country to provide free menstrual products

06:21 PM Nov 25, 2020 |

Scotland became the first country in the world to provide free menstrual products as part of a global movement against period poverty on Wednesday.

The Scottish Parliament voted unanimously in favour of the Period Products Bill on Tuesday, months after lawmakers had initially signalled their support, CNN reported.

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According to the new rules, period products will be available to access in public buildings including schools and universities across Scotland. It will be a legal duty of local authorities to make period products available for all those who need them.

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"The campaign has been backed by a wide coalition, including trades unions, women's organisations and charities," Monica Lennon, the lawmaker who introduced the bill last year, said ahead of the vote.

After the vote, Lennon said, "Scotland will not be the last country to make period poverty history." The decision was "a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved," Lennon added.

"Proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation, making Scotland the first country in the world to provide free period products for all who need them. An important policy for women and girls," Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on her official Twitter page after the vote.

CNN citing a 2017 survey from Plan International UK reported, one in 10 girls in the United Kingdom have been unable to afford period products, while the survey also found that nearly half of all girls aged 14 to 21 are embarrassed by their periods, while about half had missed an entire day of school because of them.

In 2018, the government announced that students in schools, colleges, and universities across the countries would be able to access sanitary products for free, through a Pound 5.2 million investment. However, in 2019, it allocated another Pound 4 million to make period products available for free in libraries and recreational centres, CNN further reported.

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