In 2021, Scotland became the first country in the world to make universal access to free period products a legal right. This has attracted extraordinary attention internationally, positioning Scotland as a leader on menstrual policy. Yet, little is known about why Scotland has been able to take on this role, and why at this historical moment of watershed change in many practices and policies surrounding menstruation, including sustainable period products, transgender menstruation, workplace menopause, tracking apps, menstrual disorders.

This special collection tracks the roots of the current developments through the history of politics, activism, medicine, public health, the arts and education around menstruation in Scotland and transnationally. It is the first collection to analyse and contextualise Scottish menstrual policy. Using archives, interviews, and case studies from other countries and historical periods, our collection poses the question: Why Scotland? Why menstrual rights? Why now?

Bettina Bildhauer: University of St Andrews
Camilla Røstvik: University of Leeds
Sharra Vostral: Purdue University, USA

Featured image: Matriline by Bibo Keeley, digital image, 2016

The Politics and History of Menstruation: Contextualising the Scottish Campaign to End Period Poverty

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Special Collections