FREE sanitary products have been introduced at the Scottish Parliament as part of wider efforts to address period poverty.

All female staff and visitors now have access to free towels or tampons, following a decision by the all-party Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB), which runs Holyrood.

SPCB member and Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said it was a “win for gender equality”, with “fuss-free access” in all 42 women's toilets across the parliamentary estate.

Urging other employers to follow Holyrood’s example, she said: “Menstruation and menopause continue to be taboo subjects, and women often find it difficult to access sanitary products during the working day.

“Despite half of the population experiencing menstruation at some point, very few workplaces have taken steps to become period-friendly and that's why I'm pleased the Scottish Parliament is leading by example.

“Periods are a part of life and good workplace policies like this are good for staff health and wellbeing."

Labour MSP Monica Lennon, whose member’s bill would see free sanitary products supplied in schools, colleges and universities, asked the SPCB to back the policy in February.

The change is expected to cost between £2000 and £3000 per year.

Ms Lennon said: “This a welcome announcement and a great victory for gender equality.

“But we cannot stop here and that is why the legislative steps we can take with my member’s bill to tackle period poverty remain as important as ever.

“I call on other parliaments, buildings and employers to take similar action to ensure no one has to live in period poverty – and that is why I have written to the Scottish Government urging them to follow Holyrood’s lead and take a similar step.”