Free sanitary products will be made available to students at all of Scotland’s universities under an initiative launched by the country’s government.
The scheme to eradicate “period poverty” is being bankrolled by a £5.2 million fund that will also provide sanitary products in schools and colleges.
The Scottish government said that the programme, which is being launched to coincide with the new academic year, was the first of its kind in the world.
Aileen Campbell, Scotland’s communities secretary, said: “In a country as rich as Scotland, it’s unacceptable that anyone should struggle to buy basic sanitary products.
“I am proud that Scotland is taking this world-leading action to fight period poverty and I welcome the support of local authorities, colleges and universities in implementing this initiative.”
The move was applauded by Universities Scotland. Susannah Lane, the organisation’s head of public affairs, said that it was “unacceptable that anyone should suffer the embarrassment and distress caused by period poverty”.
“Periods are a part of life but they shouldn’t be a point of inequality, compromise someone’s quality of life or be a distraction from making the very most of time spent at university, so this is a positive step,” she said.
Shuwanna Aaron, NUS Scotland’s women’s officer, said: “By helping to remove a financial barrier that previously was overlooked by many, this funding will hugely benefit students across Scotland.
“I look forward to continued work with students’ associations and the Scottish government going forward, to ensure sanitary products are available on a basis that is sensitive to all who need them.”