Goodest Leader: November 2020

Monica Lennon

Monica Lennon MSP, Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work

Period poverty is a global issue affecting the health and wellbeing of hundreds of millions of women and girls. The lack of access and the high prices of sanitary and menstrual products leaves many in precarious and uncomfortable situations. It doesn’t help that menstruation is, in many parts of the world, still a socially stigmatized topic. The combination of inadequate education and resources poses a threat to the health and well-being of many women and girls.

Monica Lennon coordinated a campaign over several years to introduce the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act 2021, a bill that tackles the problem of period poverty, making it mandatory for all public institutions to provide sanitary and menstrual products free of charge (a number of private organisations have voluntarily followed suit). Scotland is the first country in the world to introduce such an initiative.

This is more than just good domestic policy and a long-overdue recognition of a fundamental human right. Scotland is a country with considerable international influence, thanks to its positive international image and abundant reserves of “soft power”. This means that its policy decisions are widely observed and likely to be imitated within the international community, so this is policy that will spread. Good countries lead by example.