Fighting inflation: Scotland commits to free tampons and pads

Scotland is the first country in the world to legislate to give all women and girls access to free period products.

Fighting inflation: Scotland commits to free tampons and pads

Scotland is the first country in the world to legislate to give all women and girls access to free period products. What previously only applied in schools is now being extended to all educational institutions. Such a law is still pending in Germany.

In Scotland, free access to menstrual articles has been legislated for. The Period Products Act requires educational and city agencies to "make period products available free of charge to anyone who needs them."

Scotland is the first country in the world to have such a law. Scottish Labor MP Monica Lennon, who sponsored the law passed back in 2020, said: "Especially now, with the cost of living rising, the law is a beacon of hope, showing what can be achieved when politicians come together and for the good of people act."

In June, the inflation rate in Great Britain was 9.4 percent. Data for July will be released tomorrow, Wednesday.

Since 2017, Scotland has spent around £27m ($40m) to make pads and tampons accessible in public places. Availability has been mandatory in schools for the past year and is now being expanded. "We are proud to be the first national government in the world to take this step," said Social Justice Minister Shona Robison.

Period poverty - the fact that girls and women cannot afford suitable period products - is a problem in many countries around the world. The Period Products Act is intended to ensure more social justice by enabling universal access to menstrual products. A 2017 survey by the aid organization Plan International found that 10 per cent of girls and young women aged 14 to 21 in the UK could not afford menstrual products - 15 per cent had financial difficulties to buy them.

On average, a woman in Europe spends an average of 7,000 euros in her lifetime on menstrual and contraceptive pills, including painkillers. After a successful petition against tax discrimination, German consumers have only been paying 7 percent VAT on monthly hygiene items since 2020 instead of 19 percent.

The majority of the German population supports free menstrual products in public buildings. In a representative survey by the opinion research institute Yougov, 66 percent of those questioned were in favor of giving people who are menstruating free access to items such as tampons or pads in community centers or pharmacies. 18 percent reject this, 16 percent of those questioned made no statement. According to the survey, women are more likely to support such a regulation at 72 percent than men at 61 percent. The approval was highest among supporters of the Greens and the SPD (76 percent each), with 52 percent lowest among supporters of the AfD.

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