By Shannon Holden
Sub-edited by Jasmine Wing
25th of November 2020 a date for the history books and a massive leap forward for gender equality. The free sanitary products scheme could save women on average £13 a month which adds up to £156 yearly. Due to covid, unemployment rates have rapidly increased in the UK causing 1.72 million people to become unemployed last November according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The free products scheme will help reduce period poverty in Scotland and have positive effects on the lives of women who are unable to afford period products.
In the UK, 10% of girls can not afford period products and 19% had to change to less sustainable options due to cost. The government believes offering free products will allow women such as these girls to resume a normal life.
Free sanitary products will also help reduce the stigma of menstruation. The topic of women’s periods can be often overlooked even though it affects half of the population. By having free products available, girls will be able to grow up in a society that doesn’t make her feel embarrassed for her body’s natural process. Sanitary Products have never been offered free before, as opposed to condoms for men which are offered at all sexual health clinics across the United Kingdom. In a few countries, condoms are offered as part of safe sex schemes, even in schools. This inequality in sexual education can lead to women feeling scared to be caught on their periods with 17% of 14 to 24-year-olds feeling unable to buy products without embarrassment.
So the next question is now the UK is outside of the EU’s regulations, and have abolished the tampon tax, could England be next?