Parliament debates "period poverty"


The Trussell Trust has called for women on benefits to be given tampons and other sanitary products free of charge as the Scottish Parliament held its first debate on “period poverty” yesterday. The debate discussed the rising issue of women and girls who cannot afford to buy proper sanitary products.

According to research conducted by the charity earlier this year, 1.2 million people across the UK are going without essential toiletries, including tampons and towels. Member of Scottish Parliament Monica Lennon, who tabled the motion with cross-party support, commented:

“It is an uncomfortable truth that not every woman and girl in Scotland can afford to buy essential feminine hygiene products when they need them. What use is a free prescription for period pain relief if low pay and insecure zero-hours contracts are forcing menstruating women to stuff their pants with toilet paper?

“Should we really say ‘try a foodbank’ to a mother and her daughters fleeing domestic violence, when there is no guarantee whatsoever that the donations pile will include the tampons and towels they urgently need?”

Trussell Trust comment

Trussell Trust Development Officer Ewan Gurr told The Guardian newspaper that foodbanks tried to keep women’s health products as a basic necessity but had heard of women needing to use newspapers, socks or toilet tissue.

“Purely on health grounds, this is a serious issue, but we should also be viewing it as a dignity issue. The provision of free sanitary products to women on certain benefits should be seriously considered by ministers," he commented.

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