Scotland has become the first country in the world to legislate free groceries for women and girls in need.

The products will be available in places such as educational institutions, cafes and community centers. There will also be a free downloadable app called ‘Pick Up Your Period’ which will help you find your nearest collection points and provide details of what range is available.

The Periodic Products (Free Provision) Bill in Scotland was unanimously supported by the Scottish Parliament in November 2020, but did not come into force until Monday 15 August 2022.

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government Shauna Robison says the scheme will make a big difference at a time of cost of living crisis.

“We know, for example, from feedback from food banks that women and girls were supported with free access [period] food through food bank provision because they can’t afford to buy it, and no one should be in that position. I think recognizing that was part of the motivation to pass this world-leading legislation,” added Robison.

The bill was first proposed by opposition Labor MP Monica Lennon, who has been campaigning for the new law since 2016.

“Over time the Scottish Government has really seen the benefit of this, it has really helped improve school attendance; to help people feel valued in the workplace; to help people who have health problems like endometriosis or other disabilities,” said the lawmaker about the benefits of passing such legislation.

On Monday, Lennon said the availability of old products has led to blackouts, reduced school attendance and unsafe use of hygiene products. She also said that some “enlightened employers” have started introducing period provisions in their companies, despite the fact that they are not required to do so under the new legislation.

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