In the ever-raging battle for women’s rights, Scotland is stepping up in a major way and we’re hoping the rest of the world takes note. Each month, whether we like it or not, we get a visit from Aunt Flo. For many of us, having to buy things like pads or tampons isn’t too big of a deal but, for others, that cost is a huge burden.
In response to what is known as “period poverty,” which is when females of all ages struggle to pay for the cost of menstrual and basic sanitary products each month, Scotland has announced a new $6 million policy that will provide access to free sanitary products to all of its nearly 400,000 school, college and university students, reports The Guardian. Well done, Scotland!
The Scottish government is the first in the world to be doing this. The statistics of period poverty are outrageous and upsetting, especially considering how well off Scotland is as a country. The lack of access to sanitary products for school-aged females not only contributes to uncomfortable and challenging situations at school but oftentimes forces them to skip classes completely. The Guardian reports that in a recent study done by Young Scot, 25 percent of 2,000 respondents surveyed said that they had problems accessing sanitary products. That’s one out of every four females.
“In a country as rich as Scotland it’s unacceptable that anyone should struggle to buy basic sanitary products,”communities secretary Aileen Campbell told the Guardian. “I am proud that Scotland is taking this world-leading action to fight period poverty and I welcome the support of local authorities, colleges and universities in implementing this initiative.”
One in five girls in the U.S. and one in seven in Canada has been forced to miss class or leave early due to the inability to attain access to menstrual protection, according to a survey by Always. People often think that only females in third world countries face these types of issues, but that’s simply untrue.
One of the main goals of this investment by Scotland is to make sure that, going forward, students will never have to miss schooling due to the natural occurrence of their period. “It will also contribute to a more open conversation and reducing the unnecessary stigma associated with periods,” said Councillor Alison Evison, the president of Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), according to The Guardian.
Hopefully, with this news, more countries will take notice and follow in the footsteps of Scotland. At the very least, let’s get more teachers involved in helping young girls be prepared for their first period. Every step in the right direction counts!