Free sanitary products will be available to pupils, students and learners at schools, colleges and universities across Scotland thanks to a new £5.2 million fund.
The move makes the Scottish Government the first in the world to make such essentials available to all pupils and students.
The scheme – which coincides with the start of the academic year – is aimed at helping banish the scourge of period poverty for Scotland’s 395,000 school pupils, college students and university students.
The Scottish Government has worked closely with partners including the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), Colleges Scotland, Universities Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council to ensure the availability of products reflects the views and needs of learners.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “In a country as rich as Scotland it’s unacceptable that anyone should struggle to buy basic sanitary products. I am proud that Scotland is taking this world-leading action to fight period poverty and I welcome the support of local authorities, colleges and universities in implementing this initiative.
“Our £5.2 million investment will mean these essential products will be available to those who need them in a sensitive and dignified way, which will make it easier for students to fully focus on their studies.”
Susannah Lane, Head of Public Affairs at Universities Scotland, said: “It is unacceptable that anyone should suffer the embarrassment and distress caused by period poverty so we welcome free sanitary provision being made available in universities across Scotland. Periods are a part of life but they shouldn’t be a point of inequality, compromise someone’s quality of life or be a distraction from making the very most of time spent at university so this is a positive step.”
Monica Lennon MSP, a leading figure in the fight against period poverty, is currently progressing the Sanitary Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill which, if introduced, would create a statutory duty for free provision of sanitary products across the country.
She told the BBC: “This is another great step forward in the campaign against period poverty. Access to period products should be a right, regardless of your income, which is why I am moving ahead with plans for legislation to introduce a universal system of free access to period products for everyone in Scotland.”