In a landmark victory for the global movement against period poverty, Scotland has officially enacted a law allowing free and universal access to menstrual products, including tampons and pads, in public facilities.
This makes the European nation the first country in the world to implement such legislation.
The Scottish Parliament voted unanimously in favor of the Period Products bill on Tuesday, months after lawmakers had initially signaled their support.
Following the approval, period products will now be made available in public buildings including schools and universities across Scotland.
According to the new rules, it will be up to local authorities and education providers to ensure the products are available free of charge.
“The campaign has been backed by a wide coalition, including trades unions, women’s organisations and charities,” Monica Lennon, the lawmaker who introduced the bill last year, said ahead of the vote.
“Scotland will not be the last country to make period poverty history,” She added.
After the vote, Lennon said the decision was “a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved.”
Based on financial memorandum estimates accompanying the bill, it could cost around £8.7m a year by 2022, depending on the number of women who will take advantage of the free products.
In a document supporting the legislation, Lennon said it was reasonable to expect 20% uptake of the scheme given the fact that official inequality statistics show that nearly 20% of women in Scotland live in relative poverty.
A number of equality and women’s rights groups as well as politicians from across the parties represented in the Scottish Parliament have praised the new law.