Empowerment

Scotland Approves Bill to Make Sanitary Products Free For All

The country is the first to approve such a bill.

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The Parliament in Scotland approved a proposal that would make sanitary products free for all. The Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Bill will enable public spaces like pharmacies and community centers to offer free sanitary products at an estimated annual cost of £24.1 million ($31.2 million).

According to Reuters, the measure was approved on Tuesday with 112 votes in favor, none against, and one abstention. It will now move to the second stage of passage, where amendments will be proposed. 

Scottish MP Monica Lennon, who first submitted a draft proposal in 2017, said during the debate that passing it would be a “milestone moment for normalizing menstruation in Scotland and sending out that real signal to people in this country about how seriously parliament takes gender equality.”

In 2018, Scotland became the first country in the world to provide free sanitary products in schools and universities.

Sanitary products in the UK are currently taxed at 5%. Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s government said it wanted to end the “tampon tax,” but that European Union rules which set the tax rates for certain products were preventing them from moving forward. The government announced in 2016 that it would drop the tax, but that has not happened yet.  

In the U.S., several states have also eliminated the tampon tax from period products. 

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