Aug. 17, 2022 -- Scotland has become the world’s first country to offer tampons and sanitary pads for free to “anyone who needs them,” the government says.

Menstrual products are available at drugs stores and community centers, after Parliament action in 2020. The law takes effect Aug. 15, 2022.

"Providing access to free period products is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them," Shona Robison, Social Justice Secretary, said.

She said the action is “more important than ever” because of inflation.

According to National Public Radio, Scotland is the first country to offer free period products nationally. “Others, including New Zealand and Kenya, distribute products for free in public schools,” NPR says.

“Awareness has grown in recent years about how access to period products can affect education and economic stability for people who need them,” NPR reports. “In the U.S., a package of tampons or menstrual pads costs around $7 to $10 for a supply that may last a month or two.”

Studies have found that poor women must use alternative materials. One study said 14% of American college students have trouble paying for period products. The number is higher among women of color.

In this country, some states require public schools provide free period products. Some don’t require a sales tax on them.

In Scotland, Social Justice Secretary Robison said, “The work we are doing in Scotland continues to be world leading, going goes beyond provision of free products. We have also provided funding for an educational website for employers, run a successful anti-stigma campaign, and improved menstrual health resources available for schools.

“I’m grateful to all the young women and girls who have been crucial in developing the best ways to access products to meet their needs.”

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Scottish Government: Period Products Act comes into force


NPR: Scotland becomes the first country to offer tampons and pads for free, officials say

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