Scotland is the first country in the world to make sanitary products free for everyone
via YWCA Scotland / Twitter

Editor's note: We are re-sharing some of the best moments and most important stories of 2020. Although it was a difficult year for nearly all of us, there were also shining moments of light and signs of hope. This was one of them.

Update: The period products bill was unanimously approved by the Scottish parliament in November of 2020.

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Period poverty is a big issue that's seldom discussed. A study of UK girls found that 15% have struggled to afford them and 19% have changed to a less suitable product due to cost.

There is also a real problem with period stigma. A recent study found that 74% of 14 to 21-year-old girls in the UK felt embarrassed buying period products.


That's why the Scottish Parliament is about to pass a law that would make it the first country in the world to make sanitary products freely available. It will give "anyone who needs them" access to products "relatively easily" with "reasonable privacy."

It will be a landmark event in the movement to make menstrual hygiene a basic human right.

The Period Products Scotland Bill was proposed by Scottish lawmaker Monica Lennon. "These are not luxury items. They are indeed essential and no one in Scotland should have to go without period products," Lennon said, adding that the bill was about "period dignity."

Under the law, products will be made available for free at pharmacies, youth centers, and community centers.

via LGBT Scotland



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Two years ago, Scotland became the first country to make sanitary products free in all schools, colleges, and universities.

"We will continue our world-leading action promoting wider period dignity through a certification scheme to encourage organizations to provide free products," Aileen Campbell, Scotland's communities secretary, said.

Unfortunately, period products in the UK are still subject to a 5% tax. Former prime minister David Cameron was looking into eliminating it but his hands were tied due to European Union rules.

Currently, there are currently 13 countries that do not impose a tax on period products. In the U.S., there are only 15 states where sanitary products are tax-free.

Period poverty is also an issue in the United States although there's little momentum towards a free-products-for-all program.

Research by The Always Confidence and Puberty Wave VI Survey found that "nearly one in five American girls have either left school early or missed school entirely because they did not have access to period products."

"The fact that there are people who aren't able to afford these products, and as a result, may miss school, may miss work, face certain stigma — I think it's a human rights issue that, especially in the United States of America, women should not have to be dealing with," said Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-New York.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon