Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Scotland becomes first country to give free sanitary products to low-income women


Scotland looks set to become the first country in the world to offer free sanitary products to women and girls from low-income households.

The news comes after the Scottish government launched a groundbreaking initiative yesterday, which will see free tampons and pads being distributed to seven regeneration areas in Aberdeen.

The six-month pilot scheme – aimed at tackling “period poverty” – has been launched just months after education secretary Justine Greening promised to “look carefully” into the possibility of providing free tampons to girls from low-income households in the UK, following the news that girls were missing school because they couldn’t afford to buy sanitary products.

Under the new scheme, free sanitary products will be distributed to three secondary schools in Aberdeen as well as North East Further Education College, along with a variety of organisations including Scottish Women’s Aid, the Cyrenians and HomeStart. 

The social enterprise charity Community Food Initiatives North East, which helped launch the new scheme, has been given £10,000 by the Scottish Government to provide free protection to 1,000 women for six months, The Scotsman reports.

Girls are missing school because they can't afford to buy sanitary products

Girls are missing school because they can't afford sanitary products

Dr Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, welcomed the initiative, telling stylist.co.uk, “Period isn’t a dirty word, but for a really long time period poverty has been seen as an issue too murky and shameful to dive into.

“Anyone who has ever had a period will tell you that pads and tampons are no luxury, they are an absolute necessity. It is simply wrong that women and girls in Scotland are being forced to go without period products because they can’t afford them.”

Read more: Girls in the UK are missing school because they can't afford to buy tampons

Dr Scott added that the pilot is a “step in the right direction”, especially for women in abusive relationships who might have their access to money for such products restricted by their abuser.

“For women experiencing domestic abuse, access to period products is further restricted when an abuser chooses to withhold either money to pay for and/or the products themselves as a way to control and humiliate his partner,” she said.

“This pilot is a welcome step in the right direction, and we look forward to seeing the results and continuing to work with others to find new solutions to the age old problem of women’s inequality.”

"Pads and tampons are no luxury, they are an absolute necessity."

"Pads and tampons are no luxury, they are an absolute necessity."

Monica Lennon MSP, Labour’s inequalities spokeswoman, also welcomed the pilot scheme, but said it needs to go much further to provide sanitary protection for women and girls across the whole of Scotland.

Lennon, who has been vocal about the need for improved access to sanitary products and has led the campaign to end period poverty in Scotland, told The Scotsman“We must go much further to help women and girls across the country who are facing a monthly struggle to access the products they need.

“We need to end period poverty and improve access to sanitary products right across Scotland and that’s why I will soon be launching a consultation on a Members’ Bill proposal which will give all women in Scotland the right to access these products for free, regardless of their income.”

Here’s hoping a similar scheme will launch across the rest of the UK soon. Justine Greening, we’re looking at you…

Images: iStock / Pinterest


melissa rauch.JPG

You need to read Melissa Rauch’s emotional pregnancy announcement

serena williams (2).jpg

Serena Williams’ reaction to her pregnancy test is refreshingly honest

reese witherspoon legally blonde chocolate.jpg

Science reveals the surprising truth about “period brain”


Blake Lively on how women in Hollywood are limited by “likeability”

The actor points out men can be "assholes" and still seen as charming

by Megan Murray
23 Oct 2017

This London cheese restaurant is offering halloumi ice cream

Cheese fans and bored veggies, rejoice

by Susan Devaney
23 Oct 2017

20 soothing, beautiful songs guaranteed to help you fall asleep

An expert picks the ultimate classical music playlist

by Sarah Biddlecombe
20 Oct 2017

Puppy dog eyes are a thing and your dog makes them just for you

A study says dogs change their facial expressions when humans are looking

by Amy Swales
20 Oct 2017

Here’s how to buy a house or a flat for the princely sum of £1

It's time to enter the real-estate raffle

by Megan Murray
20 Oct 2017

Oxford University under fire for shocking lack of racial diversity

One MP called the revelations an example of “social apartheid”

by Moya Crockett
20 Oct 2017

This prosecco festival is the best way to start feeling Christmassy

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere

by Susan Devaney
20 Oct 2017

Missing your 16-25 railcard? We have good news for you

Rail bosses have taken pity on cash-strapped millennials

20 Oct 2017

This man’s response to his friend’s period while hiking is everything

“I had NOTHING on me and I was wearing shorts”

by Susan Devaney
20 Oct 2017

Why anxiety makes it harder to follow your intuition

It can have a paralysing effect on decision-making

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017