Lawmakers in Scotland have decided women in need should no longer have to pay for period products. Tuesday, lawmakers passed a bill that makes the nation the first in the world to do so.
“Scotland will not be the last country to consign period poverty to history, but we have the chance to be the first,” lawmaker Monica Lennon said on Tuesday. Lennon had introduced the bill, which passed 121-0.
Period poverty is when those on low incomes can’t afford, or access, suitable period products.
“Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important,” she added.
PM Andrej Babiš wants the Czech Republic to follow this lead.
“Scotland will be the first country in the world to allow free and universal access to menstrual products, including tampons and pads. They want to break down this stigma and fight poverty. Journalists ask me if such a thing would be possible in our country as well. I asked the Minister of Finance Alena Schillerová to find a solution,” Babiš wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
The bill also makes it law that schools, colleges, and universities in Scotland are required to provide the products for free — an initiative that has been in place since 2017.
“Menstruation is normal. Free universal access to tampons, pads, and reusable options should be normal, too. Period dignity for all is not radical or extreme, but is simply the right thing to do,”
Lennon said during a debate of the bill earlier this year.
England last year also launched an initiative to provide free sanitary products in schools, and New Zealand did the same earlier this year.
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. Well done to @MonicaLennon7 @ClydesdAileen and all who worked to make it happen https://t.co/4lckZ4ZYIY
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) November 24, 2020