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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 December 2020

Scotland: Campaign wins end to period poverty

photo Whatsername?/CC

photo Whatsername?/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Lynda McEwan, Socialist Party Scotland

In a first of its kind globally, the Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Act was enshrined into law in Scotland on 24 November, laying the foundations for eradicating period poverty for Scottish women.

Following a four-year campaign by Labour's Member of the Scottish Parliament Monica Lennon, backed by trade unions, student unions and women's campaigns, the act will place a legal duty on local authorities to make period products available to all.

One-in-four school, college and university girls, women and trans people, stated they have struggled to access period products, and 10% said they were unable to afford them pre-Covid.

The pandemic has massively increased this problem as colleges and universities closed and many women, particularly low-paid working-class women, lost their jobs, faced eviction, and grassroots organisations struggled to provide an effective service.

Women spend, on average, 13 a month on period products. The alleviation of this gendered burden will have a significant impact not only financially, but physically and mentally as well.

Importantly, the act will include promoting education to end the stigma surrounding menstruation. This has, encouragingly, opened up discussion about menopause, endometriosis and product sustainability.

The cost of this scheme is estimated to be around 8.7 million a year. Initially opposed to the scheme, the Scottish National Party (SNP) government was ridiculed for suggesting "cross-border tampon raids" would follow its implementation into law. It was finally forced into a U-turn as the campaign gathered more support.

The SNP and Scottish Labour's refusal to fight Tory cuts, despite standing on anti-austerity platforms has seen brutal cuts to council budgets across Scotland, with severe and detrimental effects for women and girls; 250,000 Scottish children live in poverty.

This concession has to be seen in the context of how much they've cut women's vital services to the bone, including social work services in my deprived area, West Dunbartonshire.

SNP and Labour refusal to defy Tory cuts means that the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will be standing in the Scottish elections next May on a platform of implementing no-cuts budgets and fully funding services.

The free period products victory should be welcomed, but all the social problems of inequality still exist, so we should fight on.

This law should now be built upon and pushed to be implemented across the rest of Britain. A mass campaign could force the weak and divided Tory government to follow the successful implementation in Scotland, ending period poverty for all.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 2 December 2020:


What we think

Spending Review. Unions must resist return to austerity


Spending Review

What will the spending review mean for me?

Napo kickstarts fight against pay freeze


News

Better for billionaires. Worse for workers

Arcadia and Debenhams closures: Nationalise to save jobs and pensions

Scotland: Campaign wins end to period poverty

NHS: Underfunded, understaffed, underpaid

News in brief


Devolution

Where is devolution heading?


Workplace News

Don't let the festive season be one of misery for retail workers

Equity union conference calls for radical change - now lead a fight!

Solidarity with Brighton UCU strike - we won't pay for Covid crisis

East London teachers strike in support of victimised union rep

Heathrow workers strike against 'fire and rehire' plans

Hackney: Stop plan to halve school support staff!

Pay freeze protest Homerton Hospital

Unison general secretary ballot closes


Environment

'Building back greener' - yet more Tory greenwash


International News

Conflict in Ethiopia: ethnic-linguistic divisions are the historical product of capitalist inequality


Marxism

Review: Friedrich Engels - Condition of the working class in England


Campaigns

Socialism 2020 feedback

Wales TUSC plans to mount an electoral challenge

Rent strikers' victory in Manchester student halls

Labour meeting lets MP get away with 'Spycops' abstention

Selling the Socialist

Fighting fund target smashed!


Reader's opinion

TV: The Social Dilemma

Fast fashion, big profits, low pay

Diego Maradona - Working-class rebel, football genius

Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Poverty:

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

triangleUNICEF feeds children in the UK for the first time

triangleNo surprise, poverty is rising

triangleLuxury for some, poverty for the rest of us

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Scotland:

triangleBook: The national question - a Marxist approach

triangleSocialist Party Scotland: Book launch - 'Scotland and the National Question'

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Is Scotland on the road to independence?

triangleWhere is devolution heading?

Women:

triangleSocialist Party national women's meeting: Perspectives for women and class struggle in Britain

triangleWest London Socialist Party: What are the roots of women's oppression?

triangleEngels on the origins of women's oppression

Cuts:

triangleLondoners suffer and Khan piles on pressure

triangleNottingham City Council: Major battles against cuts ahead

SNP:

triangleScotland and coronavirus - a catalogue of government failure

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