Scotland Becomes First Country to Make Tampons, Pads Free

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Campaigners and activists rally outside the Scottish Parliament in support of the Scottish Governments Support For Period Products Bill on February 25, 2020 in Edinburgh,Scotland. MSPs are set to back plans to tackle period poverty by making sanitary products available to all free of charge,the …
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Scotland became the first country on Tuesday to pass legislation making women’s menstrual products like tampons and pads free in public facilities nationwide.

The news was confirmed in a tweet from Scottish Parliament that the bill had “passed unanimously.”

“The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill has been passed unanimously by MSPs this evening,” the account stated.

CBS News noted the parliament’s website states the “law requires the Scottish Government to set up a universal system so that anyone in need of period products can get them for free.”

The new bill also requires schools, colleges, and universities to make free menstrual products available in select restrooms. Local law enforcement officers throughout Scottland will be in charge of enforcing the new law and making sure products are made available.

In regards to the new bill, which passed 121-0, CBS News also noted:

There are roughly 1.57 million menstruating individuals in Scotland, according to the bill’s associated financial memorandum. Based on that figure, it’s estimated the new law will cost the Scottish government roughly £8.7 million in 2022/23, although the real cost will depend on how many individuals use the products made available.

The bill was introduced by Monica Lennon, a member of the Scottish Parliament, in April 2019. After the bill passed on Tuesday, Lennon celebrated in a tweet, saying it was a “proud day.”

“Thank you to everyone who has campaigned for period dignity and to my MSP colleagues for backing the Bill tonight,” Lennon wrote. “A proud day for Scotland and a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved.”

Earlier Tuesday, Lennon spoke to her colleagues about the importance of the bill. “Scotland will not be the last country to consign period poverty to history, but we have the chance to be the first,” Lennon said.

While some states in America have outlawed the “tampon tax,” there are no federal laws that mandate free sanitary products, including tampons and pads, for those who need them.

A 2019 study from Intimina found that the average woman spends $6,360 during her lifetime on menstrual products. Of those that took part in the survey, 72 percent stated they felt the government should mandate free period products for all.

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