Menstrual Products are Free in Scotland

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Yup.  The NYT has full coverage here.

As Emily Waldman (Pace) and I write in our book, Menstruation Matters: Challenging the Law’s Silence on Periods (NYU Press 2022):

On an international level, the most dramatic menstrual equity development that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic was Scotland’s November 24, 2020 passage of the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, which requires local authorities to ensure that period products are obtainable free of charge by all who need them. This law, described further in Chapter 9, passed unanimously in the Scottish Parliament. Although it had been in the works even before the pandemic began—a draft bill had received initial approval in February 2020—the pandemic heightened its urgency. The lawmaker who had submitted the bill, Monica Lennon, explicitly linked its final passage to the pandemic, telling her fellow lawmakers right before the vote that “[i]n these dark times, we can bring light and hope to the world this evening.” Lennon further reflected that the bill “matters now more than ever, because periods don’t stop in a pandemic.”

The law passed in 2020 has now taken effect. This is a giant occasion.

For those interested more in the background to the Scottish reform, check out this special issue of Open Library of Humanities has a special issue devoted to “The Politics and History of Menstruation: Contextualising the Scottish Campaign to End Period Poverty.” The editors are Bettina Bildhauer (University of St Andrews), Camilla Røstvik (University of Leeds) and Sharra Vostral (History, Purdue University).



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