This Country Is Giving Out Free Tampons. Your Move, Rest Of The World.
The government's involvement could be a game changer for low-income women.
Some heartening news on the menstruation front this week: The Scottish government is running a pilot program to provide low-income women with free access to tampons and sanitary napkins.
The concept of providing women with these very necessary supplies is a pretty BFD, considering not having access can prevent women and girls from attending school and work—two essential components for improving one’s standard of living.
In a recent study of 1,100 girls in Africa, it was shown that girls who received menstruation supplies and education dropped out of school at significantly lower rates than their peers who did not.
Slated for an initial run of six months, the new program service seven low-income parts of the coastal town of Aberdeen. “A pilot scheme is a welcome step in the right direction, but we must go much further to help women and girls across the country who are facing a monthly struggle to access the products they need,” Parliament member Monica Lennon told The Scotsman.
Meanwhile, Democratic senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren are likewise acknowledging the dire problem of access, though they’re taking a somewhat narrower approach in attempting to pass federal legislation to provide consistent access to supplies for women in prison. Because somehow that isn’t already a thing. And yes, the consequences are as horrifying and demeaning as you would expect.
Both instances of legislation speak to the notion that without access to proper supplies, indomitable Aunt Flo is a significant detriment to the financial stability and personal dignity of poorer women.
The good news is that in addition to the above, the conversation seems to be building momentum on a broader level as well. In recent years, six states have eliminated sales taxes on pads and tampons: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota and New York (just don’t tell this poor guy).
Every little bit helps. The Huffington Post estimated that the average American woman will end up shelling out upwards of $18,000 on sanitary items. As if the whole thing wasn’t pleasant enough.
Words: Deena Drewis
Photos: Daria Kobayashi Ritch/Giphy