Scotland Is The First To Make Period Products Free
Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education and waste management for women and young girls. It's a real problem around the world as, on average, periods last five days and the average menstruation age is from 13 to 53. This equates to approximately 10 years of her life that a woman spends menstruating. Over a lifetime, the cost of period-related products for one person can be up to US$15,000. Therefore, in low income or remote areas with not much access to feminine hygiene products, including medication, periods can lead to women and girls not being able to go to school or work—not to mention the cultural shame attached to menstruation.
What has already been done to tackle period poverty?
Currently not very much globally. In 2015, Zambia allowed women to have one day off per month for menstruation and since 2016, France has decreased sale tax on period products from 20 per cent to 5.5 per cent. A handful of US states also moved to scrap sales tax on tampons in 2016, an effort that is ongoing across the country. The biggest milestone as of late, however, happened in Scotland just last month. The nation's parliament approved the Period Products Bill, becoming the first nation in the world to give women free access to period products.
How To Expedite Progress
From menstruation emojis to period-tracking apps, activism around the cost of periods has largely made it to the mainstream through social media. Mainstream advertisers have even switched from using blue liquid to realistic-looking fake blood to show the absorbance of its products, in an effort to de-stigmatise the natural human phenomenon. What has played the biggest role in progress though is the arrival of more women in power. It’s no question that Scotland, led by Minister Nicola Sturgeon has acted decisively on the problem, effectively eliminating period poverty for women in the country.
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