The Scottish government has announced a new scheme to provide free sanitary products to all students.
The move will help to combat period poverty – when girls and women struggle to pay for basic sanitary products on a monthly basis. A survey by Young Scot found that around one in four respondents were affected by this each month.
The new £5.2 million scheme will have a monthly benefit to Scotland’s 395,000 students.
Some universities across the country already provide free sanitary products in student unions and libraries to help those affected by the crisis. The scheme will ensure that this is now in place for all schools, colleges and universities.
Scotland will offer free tampons and sanitary pads to all school, college and university students, the first country in the world to do so. pic.twitter.com/0BgVua2Xtj
— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 24, 2018
Menstruation is still a taboo subject for many, meaning reaching out for help with period poverty can be difficult and seem embarrassing.
Students experiencing period poverty will no longer have to turn to alternatives, like cotton socks and toilet roll, which pose a risk to their health and wellbeing.
The average cost of periods throughout a women’s lifetime is nearly £2,000. This figure takes into account the 5% value-added tax on sanitary products, dubbed the tampon tax, that women across the UK face when buying products to cater to their basic needs.
While this is a massive step in the right direction, more needs to be done to combat period poverty for all women, non-binary and transgender individuals in Scotland and across the world.