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Europe / Health

Scotland to provide free period goods

Scotland to provide free period goods

Scotland has made public health history by making period products mandatory in public settings.

With the new law that went into effect on Monday, it became the first country in the world to defend the right to free sanitary goods.

The Period Products Act requires local governments and educational institutions to make free supplies available to people in need.

In November 2020, MSPs overwhelmingly adopted the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill.

Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who has been pushing to eradicate period poverty since 2016, introduced the bill.

“Local governments and partner organizations have worked tirelessly to make the legal entitlement to free period products a reality,” she added.

“This is yet another significant milestone for period dignity campaigners and grassroots groups, demonstrating the impact that progressive and daring political decisions can have.”

The Period Products Act is a ray of hope that demonstrates what can be accomplished when legislators work together for the benefit of the constituents we represent when the cost-of-living problem takes hold.

According to Georgie Nicholson of the social initiative Hey Girls, period supplies need to be available in public restrooms on a par with toilet paper. She told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland.


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Context of period poverty.

Period poverty may be explained simply, according to Ms Nicolson, by going to the store and having to decide between buying a box of tampons or a bag of spaghetti. It’s that simple.

“We hear of a lot of moms skipping their period protection simply so they can feed their kids and utilizing things like newspaper stuffing into socks or bread… since they’re cheaper than period products,” says one woman.

What has been done to combat period poverty?

Since 2017, around £27 million has been invested to offer access in public places.

When the Scottish government became the first in the world to offer period materials free to pupils, it created history.

How serious is the issue?

About one in four respondents at Scottish schools, colleges, and universities who participated in a Young Scot poll of more than 2,000 people in 2018 reported having trouble getting access to period products.

That year, the Scottish government made history by being the first in the world to provide students with free period supplies.

Another Young Scot poll indicated that two-thirds of respondents had gotten free period products from their school, college, or institution in the previous year.

The plan had a favourable influence on 84% of individuals who used the free items.

Stigma and Education rate.

Researchers suggest that, in addition to period poverty, young girls face period stigma, with the majority feeling humiliated while purchasing menstrual items.

The measure also intends to address the impact on schooling, with researchers discovering that 64% of females polled in the UK skipped school due to their period.

According to research, 34% of people were concerned about leaking, 13% had missed a complete school day at least once each month, and 22% reported anxiety related to their periods.

The statute states that responsible entities should examine the necessity of normalization and visibility as part of broader efforts to combat the stigma associated with menstruation and period products.

How would the law affect things?

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill requires local governments to make free period products available to anybody who needs them.

The 32 councils of the nation will determine what concrete measures to take, but they are required to provide “anyone who needs them” with “relatively easy” and “reasonable dignity” access to various sorts of period products.

Is the scheme ACTIVE?

The program goes into effect on August 15.

According to the Period Goods Act, acquiring free period products should not be “complicated or bureaucratic.”

Items should be available without needing to request from the council or educational institutions.

They should not have to justify why they require them or the quantity required.

There should also be no forms to fill out or any information necessary to access the items unless it is required for design or postal delivery.

Providing a respectful answer does not always need concealing goods.

The law was enacted on November 24, 2020, after major revisions were offered by the Scottish government.

What occurs in other places?

The UK government has its own period poverty task force, with the primary goal of reducing stigma and increasing period education. It also wishes to increase the availability of period goods.

In January 2020, all primary and secondary schools in England will have free period products.

A few US states have also approved legislation requiring free-period products to be distributed in schools.

Tampon tax

Scotland is the first country in the world to make period goods, such as tampons and sanitary pads, free.

The 5% VAT charge on sanitary items, known as the “tampon tax,” was eliminated in January 2021.

Since 2001, EU law has compelled members to charge tampons and sanitary towels at 5%, classifying period goods as non-essential.

Following Brexit, when the UK was no longer subject to European Union legislation, the tax was abolished.

Prior to leaving the EU, the UK government began depositing VAT collected on period goods into a Tampon Tax Fund, which was used to help organizations and charities.

It arose as a result of Laura Coryton’s Stop Taxing Periods campaign, which garnered over 320,000 supporters and international attention.

A dozen states in the United States, as well as countries like Kenya, Canada, Australia, India, Colombia, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Nigeria, Uganda, Lebanon, and Trinidad and Tobago, have reduced or eliminated taxes on period goods.


Source – BBC


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