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Scotland to be first country to provide free period products

Seerat Chabba
August 14, 2022

Starting Monday, councils and education providers in Scotland are legally required to make period products available — free of charge — to anyone who needs them.

A woman holds up a bunch of tampons
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had hailed the move as 'an important policy for women and girls'Image: Franziska Gabbert/dpa/picture alliance

Scotland will become the first country in the world to protect the right to access free period products with a new law which is set to go into effect on Monday. 

The Scottish parliament introduced the change by unanimously passing the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act in November 2020. The legislation made it a legal right to have free access to sanitary products in public buildings.

At the time, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon praised the "groundbreaking legislation" and said it was important for women and girls.

On Sunday, Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison noted that people are currently forced to make "difficult choices due to the cost of living crisis."

"Providing access to free period products is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them," Robison said.

What does the new law entail?

Under the legislation, local officials and education providers are legally required to make period products available — free of charge — to anyone who needs them.

In addition to the provision of free products, the government has provided funding for an educational website for employers, improved menstrual health resources available for schools, and implemented a successful anti-stigma campaign.

Those seeking products can find their nearest collection point by using the PickupMyPeriod mobile app, which was launched by social enterprise "Hey Girls" with support from the Scottish government.

"I’m grateful to all the young women and girls who have been crucial in developing the best ways to access products to meet their needs," said Justice Secretary Robison.

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