EDINBURGH, United Kingdom – Scotland will on Monday become the first country in the world to ensure universal access to free period products following the passing of landmark legislation in 2020.
Councils and education providers will be legally required to make period products available free of charge to anyone who needs them, the Scottish government said in a statement issued Sunday.
“Providing access to free period products is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them,” said Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison.
“We are proud to be the first national government in the world to take such action,” she added.
The Scottish parliament voted unanimously in favour of the Period Products Bill, which made it a legal right to have free access to sanitary products in public buildings, in November 2020.
Sanitary products were already free for pupils and students, but the bill placed a legal duty on ministers to ensure anyone can get access to them.
Schools, colleges and universities must also make a range of period products available for free in their toilets.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the decision at the time.
“Proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation, making Scotland the first country in the world to provide free period products for all who need them,” she wrote on her Twitter account.
“An important policy for women and girls.”