scotland is going to be the first country to make pads and tampons free for all students

The $6.7 million scheme is a major step in eradicating period poverty, which sees hundreds of thousands of young women struggle to afford basic sanitary products.

by Georgie Wright
30 August 2018, 12:54pm

Image via Pixabay

In a world first, Scotland is set to make sanitary products free across all schools, colleges and universities.

The $6.7 million scheme is a major step towards eradicating period poverty, which sees hundreds of thousands of young women struggle to afford basic sanitary products. A survey conducted at the beginning of 2018 by Young Scot -- a national youth and citizenship charity -- showed that around a quarter of respondents in secondary school, university or college had difficulty accessing sanitary products in the preceding year.

“This is another great step forward in the campaign against period poverty,” Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon told The Guardian. “Access to period products should be a right, regardless of your income, which is why I am moving ahead with plans for legislation to introduce a universal system of free access to period products for everyone in Scotland. No one should face the indignity of being unable to access these essential products to manage their period.”

And it’s not just politicians campaigning against period poverty. As reported by the BBC, three Celtic fans -- Orlaith Duffy, Erin Slaven and Mikaela McKinley -- have started a campaign called ‘On the Ball’ which aims to get free sanitary products in football stadiums across the UK.

"I was at the football at the start of the year and noticed that sanitary products are locked up in machines, sanitary bins are not in every toilet, and it just isn't a priority for football clubs," 21-year-old politics student Erin told BBC Sport. "That's not to say we're made to feel unwelcome, but we aren't a priority to football clubs and we're really conscious of that." The initiative has currently been accepted at Celtic, with six more clubs in Scotland and England -- including Tranmere Rovers, Barnsley and Kilmarnock -- following suit.

Amika George is another young woman spearheading the period poverty movement, with her Free Periods campaign. The 18-year-old told i-D this year, “When I discovered that so many girls were having to make their own pads out of socks, newspaper and toilet rolls because they couldn’t afford sanitary products I was determined to do something.” She’s aiming to get the government to provide free products to children on free school meals.

You can read more about how period poverty hurts women for the rest of their lives -- and why it needs to end -- below.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

period poverty