Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide free period products. In November 2020, it enshrined in law a duty for local authorities to make tampons and towels available to all who need them.
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act builds on the work of councils like North Ayrshire, which has been providing free tampons and towels in public buildings since 2018. Scottish schools, colleges and universities have been providing free period products since 2017, and since then, a growing number of private businesses including pubs and restaurants have been voluntarily providing free products by the basins in their bathrooms.
Campaigners across the world are celebrating Scotland’s decision, which they are using to bolster their work. Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon told The Guardian: “It’s an important message in the middle of a global pandemic that we can still put the rights of women and girls high up the political agenda”.