- Period poverty is when those on low incomes can't afford, or access, suitable period products.
MSPs unanimously approved the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill on Tuesday.
There is now a legal duty on local authorities to ensure that free items such as tampons and sanitary pads are available to “anyone who needs them”.
The bill was introduced by Labour MSP Monica Lennon. She has been campaigning to end period poverty since 2016.
She said it was a “practical and progressive” piece of legislation made all the more vital because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Periods don’t stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important,” she added.
Period poverty is when those on low incomes can’t afford, or access, suitable period products.
With average periods lasting about five days, it can cost up to £8 a month for tampons and pads, and some women struggle to afford the cost.
A survey of more than 2,000 people by Young Scot found that about one in four respondents at school, college or university in Scotland had struggled to access period products.
Meanwhile, about 10% of girls in the UK have been unable to afford period products; 15% have struggled to afford them; and 19% have changed to a less suitable product due to cost, according to research.
As well as period poverty, the bill tackles period stigma. Researchers say this is particularly an issue for young girls. It found that 71% of 14-21 year olds felt embarrassed buying period products.
The impact on education is another area the bill aims to tackle – with researchers finding almost half of girls surveyed have missed school because of their period.