Scotland: free tampons and pads
Scotland has become the first country in the world to guarantee free access to menstrual products. A law passed by unanimous vote on Tuesday makes the free provision of tampons and pads for women in public buildings compulsory. One in five Scottish women currently say they can't afford menstrual products. Commentators applaud the decision.
Poor and young women benefit
The Daily Telegraph explains why the Scottish model will make life easier for many women:
“A survey undertaken in 2018 by the grass roots group Women for Independence revealed women were using toilet paper, rags, and old clothes in place of sanitary pads, which they couldn't afford, while nearly one in five respondents said they went without period products due to financial strain. And that's without addressing the stigma: a separate study in 2017 found that 71 per cent of 14 to 21-year-olds felt embarrassed buying period products. ... Now the bill has been passed, it's up to schools, universities and local authorities to provide access points where girls can get their free products.”
Others should at least lower their taxes
London correspondent Enrico Franceschini fears in La Repubblica that Italy will not follow suit so quickly:
“With its five million inhabitants, Scotland may not yet have managed to gain independencefrom the United Kingdom, but it has secured a place on the world map as the first nation where menstrual products are free by law. The decision it took on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women could be copied by other countries - or at least they could abolish the 'tampon tax', the tax on tampons and other intimate hygiene products for women. Italy seems far from taking such a step. Only yesterday, several associations again asked the parliament to reduce the VAT on tampons from 22 to 5 percent.”