The Scottish Parliament has given initial backing to a bill that is aimed at ending period poverty in Scotland. Period poverty is when those on low incomes can’t afford, or access, period products. It affects millions around the world. According to research, 10% of girls in the UK have been unable to afford period products.
The proposed legislation – brought forward by MSP Monica Lennon – aims to tackle period poverty by making free sanitary products available to anyone who needs them in Scotland.
Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE), an Aberdeen-based charity and social enterprise has welcomed the positive outcomes of the first vote on the Bill. CFINE have been an advocate of tackling period poverty for years and the charity is pleased to see the unanimous support of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government for this ground-breaking legislation at stage one.
“We are delighted to see Scotland taking the lead in ending period poverty by providing access to free sanitary products for everyone,” said Dave Simmers, CEO of CFINE.
“CFINE, which operates FareShare Grampian, is proud to have worked with The Scottish Government on making free sanitary products accessible since 2017. We look forward to continuing and further developing this partnership.
“An important element of this initiative is challenging the stigma around menstruation, which is a natural function. The lack of appropriate protection is a concerning health and wellbeing issue.”
The Scottish Government asked CFINE to operate and coordinate the pilot scheme of the Access to Free Sanitary Products project in 2017/18. The pilot was extremely successful with over 1,000 people signing up to receive sanitary products.
The pilot found that accessing sanitary products had presented difficulties in the past for two-thirds of participants. Partly based on the success of the pilot, the Scottish Government had allocated funding to roll out the distribution of free sanitary products to those in need widely across Scotland, including Grampian, via the FareShare network and in educational institutions.
Scotland was the first country in the world to roll out such a national scheme.
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