Scotland To Give Free Sanitary Products To Women
Scotland has just become one of the first countries in the world to provide free feminine hygiene products to low-income women. At this stage it looks like the program will be focussed in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland. Women and girls in this area, will be provided with free tampons and sanitary pads.
I am beyond proud of them for doing this.
According to the Independent, they will be launching it as a six-month pilot program run. It will be run by Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) and will benefit at least 1,000 women and girls.
CFINE chief executive Dave Simmers explains that menstrual products can cost over £5,000 throughout a woman’s lifetime (that’s about $6,500). Simmers calls this “a significant sum for those on low-income,” adding that, “Many cannot afford them, and may use inappropriate methods or miss school.”
Here in New Zealand, this is also an issue for many women and girls. Whatever your situation in life might be, there are always those less fortunate than us, and always in a position where they can’t afford even the most basic of items.
Women and girls are actively missing out on university / school because they can’t afford to buy tampons or pads.
Manurewa MP and Labour Youth Affairs spokesperson Louisa Wall said last year:
“Others resort to makeshift or unhygienic measures such as recycling used pads or improvising pads from old clothes, rags newspaper and other materials – putting them at risk of infection and illness.”
I have since found out that the Salvation Army’s Foodbank set up a project called the ‘Women’s Hygiene Bundle‘. You make a $15 donation and it gives women and girls the products they need.
Countdown actually donated $2,500 worth of sanitary products for the project.
There is also a wonderful charity in Palmerston North called ‘Go with the Flow‘. It is a Facebook page designed to raise awareness about those who cannot afford sanitary products.
KidsCan distrubute 4,000 sanitary items to more than 500 low-income schools nationwide after they were given a NZ$25,000 (USD$18,000) government grant to begin to address the issue.
Because KidsCan buy in bulk, they are able to purchase packs of sanitary products for around NZ$1 – instead of the NZ$4-8 that supermarkets usually charge. Sanitary products are taxed in New Zealand.
However, even the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) say that “Sanitary hygiene products too expensive”.
CPAG asks for sanitary product manufacturers to reduce their profit margins for single purchases in order to be socially responsible, and for the Government to ensure that all families have their income needs met. For many, extending the $72.50 of the Working for Families In-Work Tax Credit to all children irrespective of their parents’ hours of work, would provide huge and immediate relief.
WAYS TO SUPPORT EXTERNAL CHARITIES:
Image from Go With The Flow on Facebook