Menstrual Hygiene Management and Agenda-Setting Theory: A case study of the ‘Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill (2019)’

University essay from Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle

Abstract: Suitable Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) is necessary for the full enjoyment of human rights. In 2019, Scotland made history as the first country to take such a hands on approach to ensuring MHM, when it placed the ‘Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill (2019)’ on its political agenda. The bill aims to provide free period products to all those who need, across the whole of Scotland. It also aims to combat the stigma that currently dominates menstruation discourses. This thesis takes a targeted approach and investigates the bill from the perspective of Agenda-Setting Theories to start the process of understanding how this issue gained a place on the Scottish political agenda. Specifically, it employs a discourse analysis to examine how the issue was defined in the bill at hand, in order to highlight key signs that might have impacted its success. The thesis finds that the bill makes an important connection between MHM and the social struggles for gender equality and socioeconomic equality which has the effect of increasing the social significance of the issue. Additionally the bill is found to situate itself within the framework of international human rights norms which has a legitimizing effect on its claim.

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