Speak Out champions are a group of girls and young women who make up Girlguiding Scotland’s youth panel. They act as spokespeople for the organisation and share their views on issues that matter to them and other girls across the country.
They’ve always been passionate about ending period poverty for good and have supported Monica Lennon MSP over the years in her quest to make this a reality. Check out this blog by Speak Out champion Abby and find out more about what part they played!
In recent years Scotland introduced the Free Period Products Bill to help those who are unable to afford them or access them. This allows period dignity for those who may not have had it before and who have experience period poverty, and it makes a huge difference within their lives. They won’t need to constantly be worried about trying to afford essential products each month, as it’s not up to them whether they have their period or not.
Not only that, it also breaks the stigma around periods. This makes it easier for many girls, women and people who might have felt self-conscious if they weren’t able to afford the essential products they need to manage their periods.
Here at Girlguiding Scotland we believe that period products should be free and easily accessible to those who need it. Our Girls in Scotland research into free period products found that 89% believed that having access to free period products in school/college/university helps to reduce the stigma around periods within the community.
Girlguiding Scotland also created a campaign to end period poverty and worked with other organisations to reach their goal. 2020 was a milestone for the campaign as the Free Period Products Bill became law. This places a legal duty on local authorities to guarantee that there are free period products available to those who need them.
More locally in my area, in 2018 Stirling University made free period products available across campus due to the £5.2 million fund which they received from the government, alongside other Universities and Colleges. The scheme which was implemented aimed to help banish period poverty experienced by any of the 395,000 of Scotland’s school, college and university students. Also, as of 2019, Stirling Council introduced free period products within public facilities as part of the authority’s ongoing commitment to tackle poverty.
By taking all these measures and through the life changing Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, many people will not be plunged into poverty due to the high costs of period products.
Hopefully talk of periods among people might even become more normal within society meaning there will be more awareness on how to access free period products.
By Abby, Girlguiding Scotland Speak Out Champion