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Scotland and period poverty: a case study of activists' media and political agenda-setting.

McKay, Fiona


Fiona McKay


James Morrison

Jen Birks

Mike Berry


Grassroots-led global social movements have become increasingly prominent on mainstream media and political agendas. In Scotland, several of these have resulted in significant policy change, including the period poverty movement, which addresses inequalities relating to menstruation. This chapter looks to this movement as a case study, showing how several interventions have led the country to be hailed a world leader in policies providing free access to menstrual products. It will analyze the conditions under which this movement first took hold in Scotland in 2016, moving chronologically from the first mention of the term 'period poverty' in legacy media. It will show how the increasing visibility and discursive realization, or crystallization, of the term itself fueled further activism to influence the political agenda. In doing so, it will show the increasingly hybrid and circuitous dynamic of contemporary political communication and how taking a holistic approach to viewing this may give added insight to appraisals of media and political agenda setting.


MCKAY, F. 2022. Scotland and period poverty: a case study of activists' media and political agenda-setting. In Morrison, J., Birks, J. and Berry, M. (eds.) The Routledge companion to political journalism. Abingdon: Routledge [online], Chapter 38, pages 404-413. Available from:

Online Publication Date Oct 20, 2021
Publication Date Dec 31, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 26, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 21, 2023
Publisher Routledge
Pages 404-413
Book Title The Routledge companion to political journalism
Chapter Number Chapter 38
ISBN 9780367248222 ; 9781032080451
Keywords Grassroots movements; Social movements; Social activism; Political activism; Menstrual discrimination; Menstruation; Scotland
Public URL
Related Public URLs (Parent work)


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