Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon will bring forward legislation hoping to introduce a universal system providing free sanitary products
SCOTLAND COULD BECOME the first country in the world to provide access to free sanitary products.
Monica Lennon MSP has launched a consultation on proposed legislation that would force Scottish ministers to introduce a system providing universal access to free sanitary products.
The Scottish Labour MSP’s Member’s Bill will also include a statutory duty on schools, colleges and universities to provide access to free sanitary products in the toilets.
Lennon, Scottish Labour’s inequalities spokesperson, said: “Scotland has the opportunity to be a world leader in ending period poverty. Access to sanitary products should be a basic right but sadly in Scotland we know not everyone can afford or obtain what they need.
“My proposal also includes a statutory duty on schools, colleges and universities to provide free sanitary products in their toilets. Having your period shouldn’t result in anyone missing class.” Monica Lennon
“That’s why I intend to introduce a legal duty on the Scottish Government to develop a universal system in Scotland which will provide free sanitary products for anyone who needs them.
“My proposal also includes a statutory duty on schools, colleges and universities to provide free sanitary products in their toilets. Having your period shouldn’t result in anyone missing class.
“This is a big step towards creating a fairer and more equal society and I hope to hear from people right across Scotland during the consultation.”
The Bill is warmly welcomed by Scottish women’s charities, such as Scottish Women’s Aid and Engender, as a way for women and girls to have easier access to sanitary products as and when they need them.
“I welcome Monica Lennon’s work on access to sanitary products and will be happy to engage further with her as we look at what more can be done to tackle the issue, within the current powers of the Scottish Parliament.” Angela Constance
Women and girls have found it difficult to access or afford sanitary products due to a variety of reasons, including welfare sanctions, homelessness or health conditions.
In some cases, women and girls have turned to food banks to get access to an emergency supply of sanitary products.
Since being elected last year, Lennon has campaigned on period poverty and against the stigma of menstruation.
The Scottish Government responded to calls to take action when it was announced last month that it had launched a six month pilot in Aberdeen that will benefit 1,000 women and girls on low income with free sanitary products.
The £42,000 funded project will inform the Scottish Government of the best approach to tackle the issue before rolling out the pilot nationwide.
Communities Secretary Angela Constance said: “It is unacceptable for any girl or woman not to have access to sanitary products. We are exploring how to make these products freely available and have backed a pilot project in Aberdeen to help develop a sensitive and dignified solution to this issue.
“I welcome Monica Lennon’s work on access to sanitary products and will be happy to engage further with her as we look at what more can be done to tackle the issue, within the current powers of the Scottish Parliament.”
The Scottish Government also supports the Scottish Welfare Fund, which provide a safety net for the most vulnerable people on low incomes via community care grants and crisis grants.
According to the Scottish Government, the Fund costs £100m a year to mitigate “against the worst of UK Government welfare changes”.
Picture courtesy of 小草
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