Ask any menstruating woman and she’ll tell you: periods are no joke. The pain, the mess and the mood swings are all bad enough. But when you take into account the egregious monthly cost of pads and tampons, Aunt Flo can go from a minor inconvenience to a serious financial threat.
That’s why Scottish Parliament made history on Tuesday. They voted unanimously to make sanitary products available free-of-charge at designated public areas across the country.
According to Reuters, these locations include community centers, youth clubs and pharmacies, and will cost Scotland upwards of $30 million a year—a price well worth it for the tremendous good it will do for low-income women and girls.
The legislation was proposed by Scotting Labour Party politician Monica Lennon. During the debate, she argued that passing the bill would be a “milestone moment for normalising menstruation and sending out a real signal to people in this country about how seriously parliament takes gender equality,” reported Reuters.
The new development might sound like a huge deal (and it is), but it is no surprise to Scottish constituents. The European country has a habit of making major leaps in gender equality before the rest of the world catches up. In 2018, it became the first nation to provide schools, colleges and universities with free pads and tampons for all students. This policy decision followed a survey of more than 2,000 students, which found that 25 percent of respondents struggled with access to monthly sanitary products, according to BBC News.
For women in America who still can’t seem to shake off that pesky tampon tax, Scotland’s newest bill is a subject not just of envy but of inspiration: If they can do it, why can’t we?
Here, women have extremely limited access to pricey period products, causing unnecessary stress and the use of unsafe alternatives. It can even result in missed days of work and school. The issue is critical, but lucky for us, Scotland just set the perfect example for how to solve it.
According to Reuters, Scottish lawmaker Alison Johnstone argued during the debate on Tuesday that “being financially penalized for a natural bodily function is not equitable or just,” and we’re inclined to agree. No woman should be forced to go without the products she desperately needs for her health and wellness.
American lawmakers: What’s your next move?