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The Scottish parliament has approved a bill to give free tampons and sanitary towels in a first-of-its-kind effort to stop “period poverty.” This means the lack of access to feminine products because of financial restrictions affect people around the globe and can harm well-being and mental health.
Periods usually happen monthly, meaning having access to the proper sanitary products is a basic necessity for some people. However, not all women have this access, leading to stress during their menstrual cycle.
“Disadvantaged women lack the essential resources to help manage their menstrual cycle. It negatively affects their health that comes with stress, shame and embarrassment,” wrote the researchers of a period poverty study England published in PLOS ONE in 2022.
“The proper support includes the access to free feminine products, is a need locally and nationally to help disadvantaged women manage their menstrual cycles.”
MP Monica Lennon in Scotland first proposed it for a part of the Period Products (Free Provision), Scottish Bill. Now, the proper support is moving forward. Other countries worldwide are taking the necessary steps for helping to tackle the very prevalent period of poverty, like how New Zealand recently announced it would be giving away free products in schools.
This type of move is a “milestone instant for helping to normalize menstruation in Scotland, and it sends out a real message to others in this country about how parliament takes gender equality very seriously,” Lennon said in a debate reported by Reuters.
“We are helping to change the culture, and it is fascinating that other countries throughout the world are viewing this very closely to see what Scotland will do,” she said.