Scotland close to providing free sanitary products to all following new legislation

27 Février, 2020, 10:11 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Scotland close to providing free sanitary products to all following new legislation

The country's devolved parliament passed the first vote on legislation that would make products including tampons and sanitary pads freely available in Scotland.

Period poverty is when those on low incomes can't afford, or access, suitable period products.

When I lodged written questions to the Government during the summer recess of 2016, to ask what work ministers were doing to assess the affordability and accessibility of sanitary products and address the stigma associated with periods, I was trying to get a better understanding of the impact of austerity on women and girls. In particular, there are concerns over the cost of the policy, which are said to have been underestimated.

Campaigners from across Scotland's civic sector have lobbied for Ms Lennon's bill to become law.

"Women and girls are too often left behind in the political process", the bill's sponsor, Monica Lennon, said Tuesday in Parliament.

According to Reuters, one demonstrator participating in a rally outside Scottish Parliament on Tuesday held a sign that read, "Access to menstrual products is a right".

Scotland was already the first country in the world to offer free sanitary products in schools, colleges, and universities from 2017.

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A 2018 study across Scotland, England, and Wales found 25 per cent of women were forced to miss school or work because they couldn't afford sanitary products.

The scheme is likely to be modelled on a card-based system, where people register for a free card that they use in exchange for period products at public places like pharmacies, community centres and youth clubs.

"Why is it in 2020 that toilet paper is seen as a necessity but period products aren't?" a lawmaker in Scotland said during the bill's debate, "Being financially penalized for a natural bodily function is not equitable or just". It also wants to improve the accessibility of period products.

Sanitary products in the United Kingdom are now taxed at 5 per cent - the so-called "tampon tax".

Several states are reviewing these taxes with Virginia becoming the latest to remove them outright, receiving unanimous support in the Senate to do so this month, WHSV reported.

And Tesco reduced the price of the period products it sold by 5% to cover the Value-Added Tax levied on these items. If everyone is very nice to me, I will take two empty suitcases along on my trip and return like a tampon fairy, showering all who believe with free sanitary products.

Critics to the initiatives say providing free sanitary products and eliminating taxes on those products creates an unfair fiscal burden on state budgets.

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