MSP in bid for free access to sanitary products

The suggestion put forward by Ms Martin was that the S-Card would be available to all women and not means tested.
The suggestion put forward by Ms Martin was that the S-Card would be available to all women and not means tested.

The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Communities will investigate measures which would give women and girls access to free sanitary products.

It follows a meeting between Angela Constance and Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin last month.

The suggestion of an ‘S-Card’ was first made by Ms Martin and the SNP’s Political Education Officer Julie Hepburn in May last year at the SNP National Council which decides party policy. The resolution was passed unanimously.

The concept of an S-Card is based on the existing C-Card which gives free access to condoms. Ms Martin has put forward a proposal whereby a card can be issued that could be handed into a local pharmacy, supermarket, GP practice or other providers and would allow those who need it free access to period products.

The suggestion put forward by Ms Martin to the Cabinet Secretary was that the S-Card would be available to all women and not means tested. A commitment was made that all potential methods and solutions would be fully researched.

Commenting, Ms Martin said: “Many women and girls, for a variety of reasons, simply do not have access to sanitary products. Poverty is the main reason certain women and girls cannot access period products but there are other barriers like domestic abuse and coercive control where a woman may not have access to her own money, or is stopped from accessing the products she needs.

“Personally I think access to period products is a basic right and I would like to see how we can achieve that in Scotland with the powers and levers we have.

“This not just a health issue. It’s an issue that affects the attainment and education of young girls living in families struggling to get by. Many girls will miss school every month because they have no access to products, and that’s unacceptable to me.

“I’m pleased to report that my meeting with the Cabinet Secretary was very constructive and she is actively investigating solutions and exploring options An S-Card would allow girls and women, who without it would not have regular access to sanitary products, the chance to go to supermarkets, or chemists and GPs without any fear or shame.”