SNP MSP Gillian Martin has hailed the Scottish Government’s decision to extend the pilot providing free sanitary products to women from low-income homes to the whole of Scotland, describing it as “a watershed moment in the fight against period poverty.”
Following the successful pilot scheme in Aberdeen, the Scottish Government has provided charity FareShare with over £500,000 to distribute free sanitary products to an estimated 18,800 more women across the country.
An evaluation of the pilot in Aberdeen found that some women who could not afford sanitary products were using tissue, rags or nappies as a replacement. Participants said taking part in the scheme had left them with more money to buy other essential items and less anxious about their period.
The findings come after both Gillian Martin MSP put forward the idea of an ‘S-card’ in 2016 that would allow those in need to access free tampons and towels and other products at chemists and supermarkets.
Gillian Martin MSP said: “This is a watershed moment in the fight against period poverty.
“As a member of Women for Independence and as an MSP, I have been a longstanding campaigner to end period poverty and I am delighted that the Scottish Government is supporting this cause with over half a million pounds support for women and girls across the country who struggle to afford sanitary products that should be a basic right.
“No woman or girl should be unable to access sanitary products or have to choose between using rags or tissue or being able to put food on the table.
“Scotland is leading the way on tackling period poverty – in August, the Scottish Government will be the first national government to provide sanitary products free of charge across all schools, colleges and universities. It is up to the UK government to follow our lead.”