Needing a tampon or an emergency pad outside the home – at work or on the street – is something that the vast majority of women (86% of the population) have experienced at some point. To solve this situation, Catalonia announced a few months ago - within the 2023-2025 menstrual and climacteric equity plan - that public spaces would have tampon and pad dispensers in schools, institutes, clinics and police stations, among others , although the first installations are expected during the second half of 2024.
In a further step to guarantee free access to menstrual products, which countries such as Scotland have already implemented, since yesterday the Veritas supermarket chain is moving forward and becoming a Menstrual Point: the 80 establishments that the chain has distributed in Spain and Andorra will offer free pads and tampons to anyone who needs them unexpectedly, whether they are customers of the establishment or not.
Veritas, which already offers menstrual products to its workers, has since yesterday enabled the dispensers, which must be requested from the store staff, so that, in case of need, they can choose between a tampon with a biodegradable cardboard applicator or a made-up pad with 100% organic loose cotton. The 80 centers (in Catalonia, the Basque Country, Navarre, the Balearic Islands, Madrid, the Valencian Community and Andorra) have an indication at the entrances that they are Menstrual Point.
People who need a menstrual product, whether they are customers or not, can request it, as well as free access to the toilet of the establishment. With this, they explain from the company, free access to menstrual products is guaranteed and also a space where they can be used.
"Menstrual products are a basic necessity, just like toilet paper, and by making these products available we take a step towards gender equality", explains Sophie Pagnon, Head of Communication, Marketing and Impact Officer at Veritas.
The action, in addition, is a call to all public administrations to have dispensers, since article 5 of organic law 2/2010 foresees distribution measures for these products, remember from Veritas. Already in 2020, the company decided in a pioneering way to reduce the VAT from 10% to 4% (assuming the difference in prices). Two years later, in September 2022, the same discount was implemented by law in Spain.
In this journey to eradicate menstrual poverty, in August Scotland became the first country in the world to legislate and declare free access to menstrual products and all menstruating people have access to them for free. Before that, since 2017 the country already offered tampons and pads in public spaces. With measures such as the one promoted by Scotland, it is intended to fight against menstrual poverty. Not surprisingly, almost two million people around the world, according to Unicef, cannot manage their menstrual cycle in a healthy or dignified way.
In September, the Government of the Generalitat announced an allocation of 8.5 million euros in 2024 to facilitate universal and free access to reusable menstrual products, a measure that is expected to benefit around 2.5 million people.
Menstrual products generate around 200,000 tonnes of waste per year, which is why Veritas offers and markets the Masmi Organic Care brand, which does not contain plastic derivatives.