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Selasa, 24 November 2020

Scotland becomes the first country in the world to make period products free for all - ABC News

Scotland has become the first nation to make period products free for all.

Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), passed the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill unanimously on Tuesday, following its first introduction in 2017.

The Scottish Government will now establish a nationwide scheme that allows anyone who needs period products to get them free of charge, while compensating providers.

It is estimated the scheme will cost around 24 million pounds per year ($44 million).

The legislation also obliges universities, secondary schools, and colleges to make the products available in all relevant toilets, while allowing ministers to designate other public institutions — such as pharmacies or community centres — to offer the products.

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Those seeking period products must have access to different types, and can have them delivered or collected "reasonably easily" and with "reasonable privacy".

Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who introduced the bill, told The Guardian it was a "proud day for Scotland".

"This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates."

Why was the bill introduced?

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Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon managed to get the bill passed from opposition.

The bill aims to reduce Scotland's 'period poverty', a term that describes a situation where people who menstruate aren't able to purchase period products because of financial barriers.

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For some, period poverty places them into a situation where socks or old newspapers are substituted for these products, while others forgo the products entirely.

Across the globe, this issue has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, as people have lost their jobs, while chokes on the global supply chain have reduced the availability of period products in countries that are import-dependent.

Scottish Government data from 2014-2017 showed that 19 per cent of the nation's population was in poverty, after taking out housing costs.

Data compiled by British charity, the Trussell Trust, also showed that nappies and period products made up 90 per cent of non-food item distribution in their Scottish foodbanks.

The trust found the distribution of emergency supply parcels had skyrocketed in the past decade, with more than 170,000 delivered between 2017-18, compared to 14,332 in 2012-13.

What are some of period poverty's effects?

On a metal fence, you view bags of tampons tied to pylons with a sign that reads 'only for homeless people, please respect!'
In Germany, Berliners donated tampons to the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic.(Reuters: Michele Tantussi)

Period poverty and stigma attached to menstruation have significant effects on a person's health, education, and emotional wellbeing.

A Scottish parliamentary briefing paper on the reasons for the legislation noted that period poverty may leave "women, girls and trans people no choice but to miss out on educational activities, work or recreation due to not having appropriate products."

Some 49 per cent of girls missed out on a day of school in the UK due to their period, but about 59 per cent of them gave an alternate reason for their absence, according to a 2017 survey by girls rights charity, Plan International UK.

Additionally, the parliamentary paper found that the use of alternatives to period products could lead to greater menstruation health issues "such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome which can mean heavier or irregular periods" which increase the need for more period products.

It also noted that stigma about menstruation may stop those who aren't financially independent from obtaining period products, as people may be "embarrassed to ask a parent, or carer or is worried about the impact on the household budget and does not feel they can ask for them."

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Scotland's efforts stand alone

Globally, the bulk of free period product provision has been the domain of charities and foodbanks, in countries ranging from China, to Fiji, and Australia.

Across the European Union, period products are subject to a sales tax of 5 per cent — something London has pledged to scrap once it eventually leaves the EU.

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In January, England and Wales introduced free period products in primary and secondary schools, while Scottish educational institutions have already been providing the products for free.

The BBC also reported that some pubs and restaurants in Scotland had volunteered to offer free period products before the law was passed.

Abroad, a number of US states have mandated free period products to be distributed in schools, while there is a growing national campaign to eliminate sales taxes on these products.

Since January 2019, the GST has not been applied to period products in Australia.

But no country has gone as far as Scotland, which will offer products without means testing, to everyone.

Its scheme is expected to be fully operational by 2022.

ABC/Reuters

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https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMib2h0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvbmV3cy8yMDIwLTExLTI1L3Njb3RsYW5kLWJlY29tZXMtZmlyc3QtbmF0aW9uLXRvLW9mZmVyLXBlcmlvZC1wcm9kdWN0cy1mb3ItZnJlZS8xMjkxNzg4MNIBJ2h0dHBzOi8vYW1wLmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvYXJ0aWNsZS8xMjkxNzg4MA?oc=5

2020-11-25 01:07:00Z
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