• the Scottish parliament has approved plans to make sanitary products freely available, making it the first country in the world to do so. (Getty Images)
“Missing work or school because of your period is a devastating hardship women across the world face. Period poverty is real and unacceptable."
By
Zoe Victoria

26 Feb 2020 - 12:21 PM  UPDATED 26 Feb 2020 - 12:21 PM

This morning, news came through that the Scottish parliament has approved plans to make sanitary products freely available, making it the first country in the world to do so.

While sanitary products in the United Kingdom remain taxed at 5 per cent, the Scottish bill will see tampons and sanitary pads made freely available in designated public places. 

In Australia, the news follows the abolition of the “tampon tax” which was axed at the beginning of 2019 following extensive campaigning from activists to “axe the tax”. The tampon tax saw sanitary items taxed under Australian GST laws while products like condoms and Viagra were exempt. 

While sanitary products in the United Kingdom remain taxed at 5 per cent, the Scottish bill will see tampons and sanitary pads made freely available in designated public places. 

People around the world have taken to social media to share their thoughts on this latest news. One commentator referenced that the decision is an expansion of Scotland’s current policy that make sanitary products available in schools, colleges and universities, saying, “Great to see #freeperiodproducts bill get first vote in Scottish Parliament. Not just schools, for all women.” 

Another commentator simply shared their delight saying, “Just the most joyous news. So many steps forward in the fight for equality. So much love and respect for everyone who has fought so hard for this.”

Doctoral student at Columbia University, Mandi Spishak-Thomas also took to Twitter on the issue of period poverty, a problem faced by people throughout the world who cannot afford the necessary sanitary products. She said, “Missing work or school because of your period is a devastating hardship women across the world face. Period poverty is real and unacceptable. Scotland is at the forefront of legislation that could address it at a national level.” 

In Australia, period poverty continues to be an issue. With 3.2 million people living below the poverty line, more than half of that group have their period each month. Scotland’s leadership on the issue certainly suggests that Australia has a long way to go in addressing the problem. 

“Missing work or school because of your period is a devastating hardship women across the world face. Period poverty is real and unacceptable. Scotland is at the forefront of legislation that could address it at a national level.” 

One of the organisations that was at the forefront of Australia’s ‘axe the tax’ campaign and continues to work to eradicate period poverty in Australia is Share the Dignity. The organisation also reacted this morning to the news from Scotland saying, “AMAZING! The Scottish Parliament approved plans to make sanitary products freely available to all women, the first ever!” 

Share the Dignity will be collecting pads, tampons, period underwear and menstrual cups throughout March to donate to women experiencing homelessness, domestic violence and financial hardship. Collection points will be at all Woolworths stores across Australia. 

 

Zoe Victoria is a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @Zoe__V

Opinion: It's time for the Libra ad complainers to grow up
Let's face it, if you can watch Game of Thrones, a little period blood should not put you off.
Five things women did to treat their period pain before Western medicine
The experience of period pain is as old as fertility itself. Here’s how women used to treat menstrual cramping before they reached for Dr Google or modern over-the-counter medicines.
Menstruation is not a taboo in women’s sport, period
Periods are the media’s taboo, not sportswomen’s.
This trans man is the face of a new campaign about periods
“We need to encourage everyone to talk about periods, whether they experience them directly or not,” the 23-year-old said.