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.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.