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Free Provision of Period Products in Scotland
Location: Scotland, United Kingdom
Organization: Scottish Parliament
Period products (like sanitary pads & tampons), are available for free to people who need them.
About the Wise Practice
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill is designed to ensure that all who menstruate are able to access period products, at no cost, as and when they are required. In Scotland rates of poverty and food bank use have been increasing since 2008, with many finding it difficult to afford basic necessities, including period products. This ‘period poverty’ can have detrimental effects on people who menstruate’s health, wellbeing and educational attainment. The Bill was introduced in April 2019 to tackle period poverty, and became law in November 2020 after passing through three stages in the Scottish parliament.
Under the Bill the Scottish Government must set up a Scotland-wide scheme to allow anyone who needs period products to get them free of charge, and schools, colleges and universities must make a range of period products available for free in their toilets.
Goal 3: Promote access to adequate, inclusive, and quality health-care services, including universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services and rights, to reduce newborn child and maternal mortality (NUA 55; SDG 3.1, 3.7, 5.6; CEDAW article 12,16).
The Bill was introduced based on Scottish Government statistics that indicated 19% of Scotland’s population, or 1 million people each year, were living in poverty in 2014-2017, and figures which show that food bank use in Scotland was rising at a rapid pace, with 170,625 emergency supply parcels handed out in 2017-18 compared to 14,332 in 2012-13. Additional food bank research revealed that there was a significant demand for period products as part of these parcels.
Population estimates are used to predict how much the Bill is likely to cost on an annual basis, with specific financial details available in the Financial Memorandum (see Tools & References).
The Bill passed through three stages before it became law. At Stage 2 the Bill was amended so that an initial proposed voucher scheme for access to period products would be replaced with the direct provision of period products.
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