Scotland Has Become The First Country To Give Out Free Sanitary Products

The pilot scheme is designed to tackle 'period poverty' for women on lower incomes.

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Scotland is on the way to becoming the first country in the world to provide low-income women and girls with free tampons and sanitary towels under a new scheme to combat 'period poverty'.

The six-month initiative is being rolled out today across seven regeneration areas in Aberdeen, The Scotsman reports. The results will be used to make a case for future Scottish government policies on the issue of sanitary product provision.

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Launched by social enterprise charity Community Food Initiatives North East, the scheme will see products delivered to three secondary schools and North East Further Education College, as well as a number of women's health organisations.

The move comes after campaigners urged the Scottish Parliament to offer free sanitary products to women receiving working age benefits. Anti-poverty campaigners have called for 'dignity' for women who can't afford to buy sanitary protection and teachers unions report that a lack of low-cost sanitary products can also lead to pupils missing school and college.

Monica Lennon MSP, Labour's inequalities spokeswoman who has led the campaign to end period poverty in Scotland, has welcomed the move, but says more needs to be done.

'A pilot scheme is a welcome step in the right direction, but we must go much further to help women and girls across the country who are facing a monthly struggle to access the products they need,' she said.

Lennon will now be proposing a new bill which will improve access to sanitary products for all women in Scotland.

'We need to end period poverty and improve access to sanitary products right across Scotland and that's why I will soon be launching a consultation on a Members' Bill proposal which will give all women in Scotland the right to access these products for free, regardless of their income,' she added.

Scotland is following in the footsteps of New York City, which launched a similar scheme last year. In June 2016, the city council voted for a series of measures to provide free menstrual hygiene products in public schools, prisons and homeless shelters.

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