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Scotland becomes first to make pads and tampons free for all women

Scotland becomes first to make pads and tampons free for all women
[Photo: Josefin/Unsplash]

Another reason to visit and love Scotland: yesterday the country’s parliament voted almost unanimously to make women’s sanitary products freely available. Scottish women will be able to pick up tampons and pads at places like pharmacies and community centers.

The Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland bill, which is expected to pass through its remaining legislative hurdles, is a “real signal to people in this country about how seriously parliament takes gender equality,” said the bill’s proposer, parliament member Monica Lennon. Two years ago, Scotland began providing free sanitary products to schools and universities.

Women typically spend over $2000 on sanitary products. A 2018 survey by Young Scot found that a quarter of young women struggled to afford sanitary products, a common scenario known as “period poverty.”

Tampon and pad prices have long been a political issue in the U.K. due to the so-called Tampon Tax, the 5% tax rate on sanitary products, a rate set by the EU. You can read a bloody wonderful BBC summary of all things related to the public interest and tampons, here.

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