MSP backs period poverty scheme

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has backed the launch of a pilot scheme set-up to support low income households affected by period poverty.

The politician has long been an advocate for ensuring more is done to tackle the issue in the North East and across Scotland.

And earlier this year, Ms Martin wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance calling for an investigation into what could be done to help support those facing period poverty.

She put forward the suggestion of an S-card which could be given out to women who were facing period poverty which would then allow them to access free sanitary products.

A commitment, during a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary earlier this year, was made that all potential methods and solutions would be fully researched.

Now, a six-month initiative has been launched across Aberdeen aimed at tackling period poverty in seven regeneration areas.

The move has been made to help women who are unable to afford sanitary products.

The scheme will be officially launched while the Cabinet Secretary visits Community Food Initiative North East today.

Products will be distributed to three secondary schools, North East Scotland College as well as a range of organisations including Cyrenians, Women’s Aid and Homestart.

Commenting, Gillian Martin said: “This is a bold initiative which will help support women in need but also tackle the stigma around the issue of period poverty.

“Poverty is the main reason certain women and girls cannot access period products but there are other barriers like domestic abuse and coercive control where a woman may not have access to her own money, or is stopped from accessing the products she needs.

“Personally I think access to period products is a basic right. It is an issue which faces many women across Scotland and the North East is no different.

“This not just a health issue. It’s an issue that affects the attainment and education of young girls living in families struggling to get by. Many girls will miss school every month because they have no access to products, and that’s unacceptable to me.

“I am delighted the Cabinet Secretary has visited Aberdeen and chosen seven regeneration areas right here for this six-month pilot scheme.

“This pilot scheme will allow women and girls to access sanitary products without embarrassment and I wish all those behind the project every success.

“I look forward to paying a visit myself to the organisations and areas involved.”