Learning & Growing from Scotland’s New Anti-‘Period Poverty’ Policy Precedent

Image: Twitter @MonicaLennon7. 22. Nov. 2020 https://twitter.com/monicalennon7/status/1330620680174526467

A historic day in period policy history

Image: CapeTalk, 26 November 2020: https://www.capetalk.co.za/articles/402714/monica-lennon-spearheaded-the-campaign-for-free-period-products-in-soctland

“Scotland will not be the last country to consign period poverty to history, but we have the chance to be the first.’’

Monica Lennon

The vote was avidly cheered around the world and serves as a strong example for how other countries can follow suit and prioritise menstrual health higher within their political agendas, take responsibility and actually get to work.

By ensuring that policy developments are founded on human rights principles and have a comprehensive understanding of menstrual health required to de-stigmatize menstruation in the long run, we now have a chance to take on this momentum to get it right from the start.

1. The importance of informed product choice

Menstrual solutions are as diverse as the people seeking them, and the focus should be placed on informed choice, agency, and decision-making, rather than which product considered a better option for the majority of people.

Image: A shopping cart a the supermarket @Oleg Magni, Pexels

Unpacking these needs, menstrual equity is not just about products, but also about providing information, social support and choices around how to manage one’s period.

Image: @Annika Gordon, Unsplash

2. Make menstrual health inclusive to everyone, everywhere

We need to work towards menstrual health as an inclusive field in which all menstrual experiences are valued and given attention, regardless of gender.

3. The need for progressive, period-positive language

Image: Women whispering. @Yaroslav Shuraev, Pexels

Periods are not dirty or any more unhygienic than any other bodily function, and the menstrual products we use to manage our periods are just one element of a complex menstrual health puzzle.

Education, body, literacy, and skill development are equally important, all of which need to be delivered in a socially supportive environment along with the provision of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities that are up to par.

A menstrual window of opportunity

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