Scotland Will Now Provide Free Sanitary Products To All Students In Fight Against "Period Poverty"

Scotland is the first country to offer free sanitary products in a nationwide pledge against 'period poverty.' Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

As Scotland’s students head back to the classroom for the 2018-19 school year, all schools, colleges, and universities across the country will provide access to free sanitary products.

It’s part of a £5.2 million government program that aims to ensure no student has to miss school because of their period. Every school will now provide free tampons, sanitary pads, panty liners, and reusable menstrual cups and pads to any person who has a period, including transgender men and nonbinary individuals, under guidelines set forth by the Scottish Government. Each school will consult with students and staff as to the best way to deliver this promise. 

A survey of more than 2,000 Scottish students, 92 percent of whom were in secondary or post-secondary school, conducted in March found that around one-in-four students had struggled to access sanitary products. In the United Kingdom, more than 137,000 girls missed school in the last year because they couldn’t afford sanitary items.

Known as “period poverty”, a lack of access to period products is a barrier to female education, and those who don't have adequate access are more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression, less likely to do well in school, and more likely to struggle to find employment later on, further contributing to gender gaps. 

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