Period impoverishment is a thing, and it affects most women in the UK. According to a study, around 15% of the girls in the UK found it impossibly difficult to afford sanitary products, and around 19% changed to an inferior product. If that is not enough, social stigma also plays its part in embarrassing young girls- between the ages of 14-21 in buying sanitary products. In these turbulent times, Scotland has set a precedent. Their parliament is about to sign a bill that would order the free and private purchase of sanitary products. This makes Scotland the first nation in the world to pass such legislation.
Historic debate in the Scottish Parliament right now, on the Period Products Bill – if passed it would make Scotland the first country in the world to provide free period products for all women #periodpoverty pic.twitter.com/rRsP9dQjek
— Emily Woods (@EmilyHWoods) February 25, 2020
Needless to say, this bill is definitely the right way to go in terms of making sanitary products accessible to all. Monica Lennon, the lawmaker who instituted this law stated that the Period Products Scotland Bill was not about fancy, luxury products. This bill was all about products that were highly necessary; products that no woman should be bereft of.
— As It Happens (@cbcasithappens) February 27, 2020
The bill dictates the accessibility and availability of such products in youth centers, hospitals, and community centers.
Scotland’s war against period impoverishment is not a new development. A short while back, they instituted a law that made sanitary products free in schools and colleges. Aileen Campbell believes that the best way to encourage more and more organizations to avail of these products without cost is by certifying them. In the UK, period products still come with a tax of 5%. While erstwhile Prime Minister David Cameron wanted to do away with it, he couldn’t under the EU rules.
Throughout the world, there are 13 countries not levying tax on period products. In North America, USA comes with 15 states not applying a tax on it. While period impoverishment is a major issue in the States, there haven’t been many schemes or laws passed that would curb the problem.
— Lin Merage (@LinMerage) February 27, 2020
According to The Always Confidence and Puberty Wave VI Survey, it was seen that almost one in five girls would either drop out early or never go to school due to them being impoverished and unable to access basic sanitary hygiene.
Grace Meng, the Congresswoman from New York, has stated that the problems of period poverty aren’t just a social controversy anymore- it is a violation of Human Rights. When women are not able to live a normal life due to issues that shouldn’t have been issues in the first place, it is a matter of urgency. And a developed country like the USA should have dealt with it already.
Well, Scotland has already seen the problem and set an example. It is up to other countries now to take the baton and lead on.