London, Aug 16 (AP) A law has come into force in Scotland to ensure menstrual products are available free of charge to anyone who needs them.
The Scottish government said it became the first in the world to legally protect the right to access free menstrual products when its Menstrual Products Act came into force on Monday.
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Under the new law, schools, colleges and universities as well as local government agencies must make a range of period products such as tampons and sanitary napkins available free of charge in their bathrooms.
The Scottish government has already invested millions of pounds since 2017 to fund free periodicals in educational institutions, but the law makes this a legal requirement.
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A mobile phone app also helps people find the nearest place, like the local library or community center, where they can get vintage goods.
“Providing access to free period products is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes financial barriers to accessing them,” said Scottish Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison.
“This is more important than ever at a time when people are making difficult choices due to the cost of living crisis and we never want anyone to find themselves in a position where they cannot access menstrual products” , she added.
The bill, which was passed unanimously in 2020, was introduced by Scottish Parliament lawmaker Monica Lennon, who had campaigned against ‘periodic poverty’ – when someone who needs sanitary products does not can’t afford them.
“Proud of what we have achieved in Scotland,” Lennon tweeted on Monday. “We are the first but will not be the last.
The Scottish government said its decision was world-leading, with countries like South Korea and New Zealand taking similar approaches.
Last year, the New Zealand government said all schools in the country were to offer free menstrual products, as part of a campaign to help students from poorer families who missed school due to menstrual poverty. (AP)
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