The National:

IT is indefensible for anyone who needs sanitary products to be unable to access them because they can’t afford them. Period.

It may have taken a box-office film showing the appalling reality of those who cannot afford period products to bring the problem into our collective consciousness. But it is now been given the attention it deserves.

The film – I, Daniel Blake – confronted us with the heart-breaking reality of a mother having to choose between paying for food for her child or sanitary products. Since the screening of the film, we have become more aware of the serious risks that women and girls were forced to take when they could not afford to buy the products. From the health risks of using dirty rags which can cause infection, to the educational/financial risks of skipping school and taking days off work.

READ MORE: SNP conference to vote on drive for more sustainable period products

It is unacceptable. No one should be held back or have to put their health at risk because of their period. 

Governments around the world have a moral responsibility to address this.

That’s why I am so proud of the way the Scottish Government has led the way on addressing period dignity head-on.

In 2018, we became the first country in the world to make free period products available in all schools, colleges and universities. The Scottish Government then expanded this and began providing products to those who need them the most, in community settings via local authorities and groups. Last year, the Parliament passed ground breaking legislation, committing Scotland to be the first country in the world to make free period products available for anyone who needs them - which will come into effect next year. 

The National:

This bold step led others to do the same – businesses, sports stadia, and hospitality venues have also introduced free products to their bathrooms. The delight that I see and hear from women when they come across the products in this variety of venues is remarkable. Three years on, the availability of products can still take people by surprise, and I look forward to the day where it is normal and therefore unnoteworthy. 

But in 2021, as we move to becoming a net-zero nation, it seems obvious that safe and sustainable period products should be the norm. That’s why I spoke in favour of a resolution that calls for period products to include reusable and sustainable products.

The environmental impact of single-use period products is staggering - with 427.5 million being disposed of every year in Scotland. Even worse, one pad can take up to 500 years to break down.

Making the transition to re-useable and sustainable products makes complete sense as we address the climate emergency. However, it’s not just beneficial for the environment. It is cost effective too. 

READ MORE: SNP conference LIVE: All the news and updates from Saturday

The charity Bloody Good Period estimates that the average lifetime cost of having a period is about £4800! Increasing our use of options like the menstrual cup (although not suitable for everyone) or period pants can lead to hugely significant savings.

It’s clear that a lot of progress has been made in just a few years. More people than ever recognise that provision of period products is an equalities and social justice issue. We can be proud that