Thursday, November 26, 2020

Scotland becomes first nation to provide free period products for all

Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide free and universal access to period products after a four-year campaign that has fundamentally shifted the public discourse around menstruation.

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act, which passed unanimously through its final stage on Tuesday evening, will place a legal duty on local authorities to make period products available for all those who need them, building on the work of councils like North Ayrshire, which has been providing free tampons and sanitary towels in its public buildings since 2018.

Period poverty – the struggle to pay for basic sanitary products on a monthly basis – has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, according to charities.

Earlier research by the grassroots group Women for Independence revealed that nearly one in five women had experienced period poverty, which has a significant impact on their hygiene, health and wellbeing. Women are estimated to spend an average of £13 a month on period products and several thousand pounds over a lifetime.

The legislation will also enshrine in law the requirement for schools, colleges and universities to provide the products for free, which was announced by first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in 2017. This was then a world first, while the Scottish government has also funded a project in Aberdeen to deliver free period products to low-income households as well as a further £4m for councils to continue the roll-out to other public places.

In the interim, a number of individual businesses – restaurants, pubs and even football clubs – started providing free products independently. It has become increasingly common in Scotland to walk into a women’s toilet and find free products by the sinks, or with an honesty box.

read more here @ The Guardian

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The True Story of Rose Dugdale - The Woman Who Stole Vermeer

From CrimeReads:
When Rose Dugdale became international news in the mid-1970s, she emerged as an emblem of the times. Fiery, bold, and brash, she defied the conventions of her birth and of her gender in everything from action to attire. At the same time, she was generous, articulate, and unquestionably bright. Her criminality, combined with her lineage, her degree from Oxford, and her doctorate in economics, made her a curiosity to journalists not only in Ireland and Britain but in North America as well. She was media gold, having abandoned a life of wealth and leisure to take up arms in operations that would almost certainly, if not intentionally, lead her to prison.

Dugdale was also a radical, not just politically but criminally. No woman before her or since has ever committed anything resembling the art thefts for which she served as mastermind, leader, and perpetrator. For these and other crimes, she carries no regrets or remorse and offers no alibis. The ethical decisions she made during her life were her own, formed after years of intense study in universities and on the ground, from Cuba to Belfast.

Hers was an age of conflict. The antiwar movement, assassinations and riots in the United States, massive student protests in major cities in Europe, civil wars from Guatemala to Ethiopia, a recent revolution in Cuba, a coup in Portugal, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland— these were the fires burning around the world, and she studied all of them.

Her unbridled zeal for her causes was the topic of countless contemporaneous journalistic opinions, and they typically lay somewhere on a continuum, with “Reluctant Debutante Rebelling against Her Parents” at one end and “Poor Little Rich Girl Radicalized by Her Boyfriend” at the other. In fact, neither of these is completely accurate. Yes, there are elements of rebellion against her parents’ wealth, and it is indeed correct that her militancy intensified while she was with boyfriend Walter Heaton, but the truth is that her convictions were the result of her own studies, her own mind, and her own soul. Rose Dugdale was her own person—not her parents’, not Heaton’s, and not the IRA’s.

read more here from Anthony Amore @ CrimeReads