Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour MSP for Central Scotland, is on a mission to introduce world-leading legislation on the right to access free sanitary products. Here, Lennon explains why Scotland must act to end period poverty…
Menstruation is normal, yet it’s still an awkward topic for many people. Whispered conversations about something as normal as periods makes it difficult to conduct a public examination of how well society is meeting the needs of those who menstruate. In Scotland this is changing, and thanks to political and grassroots campaigning, periods are becoming a hot topic in the Scottish Parliament and in the media too.
If you are trying to survive on a low income, are homeless or have certain health conditions, talking about and managing your period isn’t just awkward, it can be impossible and messy
Periods do affect people differently but women, girls and trans people who experience menstruation, all have a common need for access to sanitary products.
If you are trying to survive on a low income, are homeless or have certain health conditions, talking about and managing your period isn’t just awkward, it can be impossible and messy. I’ve been using my voice to raise this in the Scottish Parliament ever since I was elected last May. Period poverty, which can lead to people not changing sanitary products frequently enough or improvising with rags, is both humiliating and unsafe.
Having challenged the Scottish Government and encouraged them to respond to this unmet need, the conversation around access to sanitary products has really opened up and a wide coalition of campaigners are calling for action.