Poverty is a major issue in Scotland, and the links between poverty and poor health are well known.
But there is an impact of poverty on people’s lives that has been, until now, an invisible scandal.
Women and girls living in poverty in Scotland cannot afford tampons and sanitary towels and are being forced to resort to using newspapers and socks.
According to the charity, the Trussell Trust, more than 133,000 people used foodbanks in Scotland in the last financial year, and thousands of women and girls also required free access to sanitary products. They just cannot afford to buy the tampons or towels that they need.
If a woman or girl cannot afford to buy food, how can she pay for essential healthcare products?
This is a health issue, a dignity issue and an equality issue. It's time we took action.
It should not be left to foodbanks or community groups to support such a vital public health requirement for women. If we can provide condoms for free, why not tampons?
Scottish Labour’s Monica Lennon MSP has launched a consultation on a proposal for a Member's Bill which will address the issue of access to sanitary products in Scotland’s schools and an anonymous, universal system to provide sanitary products for anyone who needs them.
But for this to become a reality, the bill needs to pass with support from the majority of the Scottish Parliament. You can help make this happen.