IT has noo been ower a ‘ear syne Scotland becam the first kintra in the warld tae provide free sanitary products for aa pupils an students in the lavvies o scuils an varsities.

Period poverty is ae aspect o poverty that isnae spoken aboot nearly eneuch. Mebbe acause o affront or embarrassment, or mebbe acause it isnae somethin that directly affects men. But jist acause it isnae a problem that fowk like tae spik oot aboot, doesnae mean that it isnae a problem that badly needs communit an dealt wi. Scuil quines shoudnae hae tae miss oot on up tae a wik o education ilka month acause o nae haein access tae the products that they need tae deal wi a natural bodily function. An, nae wumman shoud be left disadvantaged bi a bodily function that she didnae ask for, but was destined tae hae fae the moment that she was born a female.

At the mínty, a selection o complimentary sanitary products can ayeweys be fund in the lavvies o scuils and varsities. At the beginin o the summer, the Scots government set aside a forder £5.5 million tae be pit taewarts the cause oot-throu this financial ‘ear. £3.5 million o that is tae be uised tae provide free tampons and pads in varsities an colleges, an £2 million is for local authorities tae uise in ither public airts sic as scuils, but also leebraries an leisure centres. Steidily, help for them fa are chauven throu period poverty is growen.

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Fooiver, it is leukin like free access tae sanitary products is gaun tae be supported bi mair than jist a government scheme. Labour MSP, Monica Lennon, made her owerture for the Sanitary Products (Free Provision) bill back in August 2017. An, hopefully, bi the end o this ‘ear, the bill will be votit throu. If the proposal is successfu, it wad becam the legal duty o Scots government meenisters tae mak siccar that a universal system tae provide free sanitary products is pit in place. The owerture proposes that, in the futur, meenisters hae the ability tae eik this legal duty even faurer, tae include ither bodies, if it is seen tae be needfu.

The bill propones that a cairt scheme is uiset tae achieve a universal system o free sanitary provision, siclike the C-cairt scheme for contraception. This wad involve fowk gaun tae distribution centres, sic as a chemist, doctor’s surgery or shop, an showin a wee cairt tae be providit wi fitiver sanitary products they need. Sic a scheme was pilotet in Aiberdeen an run bi Community Foods Initiatives North East (CFINE). It was seen tae be a success wi ower a thoosand fowk signin up. If it were tae be made law that onybody coud dae this, it micht de-stigmatize period poverty an save weemin aawey a gey lot o money. Considerin that a gender pey gap still exists in Scotland, ony wey at aa that weemin can save siller shoud be walcomed.

Scotland is a gey few steps aheid o maist ither nations in the fecht agin period poverty, but that doesnae mean bi ony stretch o the imagination that eneuch has aaready been dane tae achieve total equality. Politicians maun nae get complacent an think that the battle is won. It is far fae that. There is sae muckle mair that can be dane. Free sanitary products shoud be made obteinable in aa public bathrooms, whether they be in state ained buidlings or buildings ained bi private businesses. Fit hairm coud it dae tae mak siccar that quines an weemin are niver feart tae find themsels stuck athoot a sanitary product at a time o need?

Wi mair an mair cantation gaun on aboot the negative effecks that the contraceptive pill has on mony fowk’s minds an bodies, fowk are ditchin the pill aa thegither. Aften, them fa tak the combined pill hiv some control ower the timin o their period, sae the mair fowk decide tae gie up usin it, the mair weemin there will be that are likely tae be caught unexpectit.

Sae, it is time tae see an end tae them flamin fearsome tampon machines that peer doon at weemin fae the fite tiled waas o bathrooms aawye. Fan ye are (nae sae pleasantly) surprised wi that aften stressful, painful time o the month, the last thing that ye want tae be daein is rummlen aboot, askin onybody and aabody that ye ken if they hae a spare £2 coin (an haein tae explain ower an ower again fit why ye need ane) anely for it tae be swallaed up bi the clunky metal vendin machine monster that refuses tae gie ye the guids. Nae ideal. If ye are lucky eneuch tae win the vendin machine lottery, ye will pey £2 for ae pad or twa tampons. If ye was tae buy yer kent brand sanitary products fae the supermarket, ye woud pey aboot 12p per pad an 10p per tampon. Quines are bein ripped aff for bein in situations that are ootwi their control. An nae doot, it will be maistly men fa are gainin fae capitalizin sic misfortune bi producin an purchasin sanitary product vendin machines that are unpractical, an the maist feck o the time unhelpfu.

Forby, there is somethin tae be said for the idea o pittin a puckle o sanitary products in ilka lavvy stall raither than (or as weel as) haein them aa in a big box aside the sinks for aabody tae see. For as lang as a stigma exists, some quines, especially younger anes, are gaun tae feel ower affrontit tae jist tak sanitary products if ither fowk are there watchin them. Takin intae consideration subtle things like ‘at will mak the current government scheme a gey lot mair feckfu.

We shoud absolutely nae owerleuk the fact great chygnes hiv been made bi the Scots government in the past few ‘ear tae combat period poverty an mak life easier for aa weemin at a time that can be parteecularly teuch. An richtly sae. Fan condoms are gien oot for free bi the NHS, why shoud sanitary products nae be? The uise o ane requires a slicht extent mair choice that the uise o the ither. Wi a bit o luck, these great chynges will becam scrievit in stane in Scots law in the near futur, an Scotland will be yet anither step closer tae gender equality.