UNISON Scotland has a large number of women members on low incomes. We are fully supportive of this important proposed Bill.
We believe it is essential that all women and girls, but in particular those living in poverty, should have a right of free access to sanitary products. As Monica Lennon says in the consultation document: “The majority of women and girls face an undue financial burden throughout the course of their lives, dealing with something which they cannot control…those who are struggling financially should not have to face a cost for looking after their essential health.”
We believe the provision of free sanitary products in schools is long overdue and welcome the proposal also for a duty on all colleges and universities to provide free sanitary products in campus toilets.
Not having access to sanitary products for financial reasons can be life threatening. The consultation document shows that between 2006/7 and 2015/16 67 women in Scotland were admitted to hospital with toxic shock syndrome, which can be related to tampon use.
The indignity and health impact for girls and women who cannot afford any, or enough sanitary products for their own health needs is an appalling indictment of our society and its priorities. It is a disgraceful situation, one that this Bill seeks to tackle.