KEY POINTS

  • Lennon has led the effort to end "Period Poverty" since 2016
  • Scotland already pays to have free products in schools and universities
  • Her measure passed parliment in a 121-0 vote

In a first, the Scottish Parliament voted unanimously to make feminine hygiene products free of charge to anyone who needs them.

Seeking to end “period poverty,” Monica Lennon, a Scottish member of parliament from the Labor Party, has pressed for free sanitary products since 2016. Her bill passed in the chamber by a 121-0 vote on Tuesday.

“We all agree that no one should have to worry about where their next tampon pad or reusable is coming from,” Lennon said on the chamber floor ahead of the vote.

CNN’s international arm reported the cost for the program could run as high as $11.6 million a year by 2020, depending on how many women take part. Lennon said she expected about 20% of the population to take advantage of the program, on par with the estimated poverty level among Scottish women.

The Scottish government already provides feminine products free of charge at schools and universities, though the new measure makes that practice mandatory.

 

 

Sturgeon is Scotland's first minister. On her own Twitter account, Lennon said the measure was “a signal to the world that free universal access to period products can be achieved.”

A 2017 survey from Plan International found 12% of the younger women who were interviewed told pollsters they had to improvise during their period because of affordability issues. About 70% of those surveyed said they were embarrassed to buy sanitary products.

“On the issue of period dignity, I am beyond proud that Scotland is leading the way and we have moved at a fast pace in a short space of time,” Lennon was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Scottish MP Monica Lennon (center) pioneers effort to make feminine products free. Scottish MP Monica Lennon (center) pioneers effort to make feminine products free. Photo: Monica Lennon Member of the Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland