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Scotland became the first country in the world this week to offer tampons and other menstrual products for free to everyone, as part of a push to end “period poverty,” the Washington Post reported.
The products will be available for free in public spaces such as community centers, pharmacies and youth clubs, officials said.
The bill behind this move, initially introduced in the Scottish parliament two years ago, is part of a broader global movement to combat period poverty, a situation that means a lack of access to feminine hygiene products because of their high costs.
Many countries and regions, including the UK, EU and the US, have moved over the past few years to make these products more accessible. New Zealand, for example, began offering period products in schools last year.
“We are the first but won’t be the last,” tweeted Monica Lennon, the member of the Scottish parliament who introduced the legislation, to offer these products cost-free nationwide.
In the UK, three in 10 young females struggle to afford or access sanitary products, a 2021 survey by global children’s charity Plan International UK said.
“We hear of a lot of mothers going without their period protection just so they can feed their children and using things such as newspaper stuffed into socks or bread … because they’re cheaper than period products,” Georgie Nicholson of Hey Girls, a group working to eradicate period poverty, told the Good Morning Scotland broadcast.