LIVING

Scotland To Give Out Free Sanitary Products To Low-Income Women

It's the first of many steps to help eradicate poverty.

07/12/2017 10:27 EDT | Updated 07/12/2017 10:30 EDT

Canada, listen up!

In a move that might be the first of its kind, Scotland will be giving out free sanitary products to low-income women as part of a pilot project launched yesterday in the city of Aberdeen.

According to The Independent, at least 1,000 women and girls will be given access to the six-month project, which is "potentially the first national government-sponsored effort of its type."

The initiative will be used as a case study for future projects of its kind and will be looked at to see what changes can be made to government policies regarding the provision of sanitary products.

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The pilot project, which is run by Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE), a group whose goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of those living in poverty, will be offered to women's health and housing charities, as well as four schools.

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance explained the important reasoning behind the project: "It is unacceptable that any woman or girl in Scotland should be unable to access sanitary products.

"That is why, as part of our wider aims to eradicate poverty from our country, we are exploring how to make products freely available to low-income groups.

Adam Gault

"The pilot in Aberdeen is a first step to help us understand the barriers women and girls face — and to help us develop a sensitive and dignified solution to making these products easily accessible to those who need them."

CFINE chief executive Dave Simmers added that the cost of sanitary products contributes to women staying in poverty.

"Over a woman's lifetime, sanitary products cost on average more than £5,000 ($8,300), a significant sum for those on low-income. Many cannot afford them and may use inappropriate methods or miss school."

It is unacceptable that any woman or girl in Scotland should be unable to access sanitary products.

Known as the "pink tax," women are often charged extra for certain products or services, from self-care products such as pads and tampons. And studies show that gender-based pricing remains an issue around the world.

"Price discrimination adds another layer to the wage inequality women face, making it harder sometimes for women to make ends meet," Surina Khan, CEO of the Women's Foundation of California, told CNBC in March.

According to the CBC, women in Canada pay a pink tax of more than 40 per cent over what men pay for self-care products.