Response: Scottish Government announcement on the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill
We welcome the Scottish Government's decision to support the principles of the proposed universal period products bill into stage one. We wish to extend out thanks to Monica Lennon MSP for proposing this bill and we congratulate our member, Stuart Smith, for his work with leading an open letter for SNP members, which encouraged SNP MSPs to support the Bill.
We would like to thank East Lothian based social enterprise, Hey Girls, for leading the campaign to tackle period poverty and to Gillian Martin MSP who has long championed the cause locally and nationally.
We commend the work that the Scottish Government and the SNP have already made on ending period poverty - which has seen thousands of individuals already benefit from the provision of free period products in educational settings and selected public buildings.
We are also pleased to see that the Scottish Government will now bring forward regulations to enshrine existing provisions of accessing period products in schools and other educational institutions in Scots law.
We agree that there are considerable issues within the current bill proposal, however, we feel that supporting the bill at stage one is a step in the right direction to ensure that everyone who requires sanitary products has access to them.
We call on the Scottish Parliament to work together with third sector organisations and cross-parties to ensure these issues are sorted with amendments to the bill. In particular, we hope to see the provision extended into all gendered and gender neutral bathrooms.
At our Conference held on Saturday in Perth, YSI members voted to pass a motion titled ‘Period Poverty to Period Dignity’ which calls on the SNP to work towards the principle of universalism in ensuring equal access to sanitary products, to everyone in need and in all public buildings across the country. The motion also asked for support in the creation of a the implementation of a ‘Period Product Certification’ that can be accredited to private institutions/employers who provide free sanitary products in all bathrooms, similar to that of the ‘Fair-Trade Certification’ or ‘Living Wage Employers’.
We look forward to working constructively with Aileen Campbell MSP and other MSPs to ensure we continue to go above and beyond in standing up for those in our society who are most in need.