Ahead of the women’s hustings at the weekend and as part of his overriding mission to end poverty, Scottish Labour leadership contender, Richard Leonard announces his commitment to end the scourge of period poverty and to work with campaigners to address the stigma and inequalities that still exist around menstruation.
On announcing this commitment Richard Leonard said,
“Companies and organisations bidding for public sector contracts should be required to provide a policy statement on the accessibility and affordability of sanitary products to their staff and members of the public using their facilities.
“Under my leadership, Scottish Labour, working closely with period poverty campaigners from across Scotland, will investigate all opportunities to address the stigma and inequalities that still persist in relation to menstruation. If we can regulate for toilet paper and soap to be in public washrooms it isn’t beyond us in a decent society to improve access to vital sanitary products.
“And plans to go further will have my full support if I am elected as the leader of Scottish Labour. My MSP colleague Monica Lennon has rightly called out the hefty profit margin on sanitary products, especially when being purchased from vending machines when no other options are available. I agree with Monica that it is only right that companies who profit from menstruation should be held to account and I fully support plans to pursue this. Under my leadership, there will be no no-go areas when it comes to fighting for equality.
“Recently, Glasgow Airport voluntarily backed Monica’s Member’s Bill proposal and are now providing free sanitary products in their main toilets. This is a responsible act and shows what strong leadership in politics and in business can achieve. This follows on from the pioneering work of South Lanarkshire College in East Kilbride and Labour-led North Ayrshire Council.”
Monica Lennon MSP, Scottish Labour Inequalities Spokesperson, said,
“Sanitary products are essential for health and wellbeing and that’s why Scottish Labour is determined to end period poverty. For too long, menstruation has lined the pockets of shareholders thanks to huge profit margins. Vending machine prices take advantage of emergencies and too few employers recognise this burden on their staff. I’m delighted that Richard is prepared to work with period poverty campaigners to challenge the vested interests that profit from essential sanitary protection."
"Richard Leonard has strongly supported measures to end period poverty and it’s because of his unapologetic commitment to women’s rights and equalities that I am voting for Richard to become the next leader of Scottish Labour. At the next election we need to persuade the people of Scotland to elect a Scottish Labour government and I know that Richard’s transformative vision for a more equal Scotland is possible because he will always stand up for the many over the few."