Last week Canada abolished taxes on various feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary towels. In 2014 the Canadian government collected $36,398,387 GST on these products, which they classed as ‘luxury’ and not ‘essential’ goods. In 2011, the Kenyan government declared menstrual hygiene products not taxable, in order to improve the living conditions of the Kenyan women.
The not so funny thing is women in the UK are still being taxed for these same so called nonessential goods. VAT on feminine sanitary products was reduced from 17.5% to 5% in 2001 after petitioning form Labour MP, Dawn Primarolo and groups such as Bloody Disgrace. Unlike Canada, the UK also adheres to to EU law, where all 28 members of the European Community have negotiated various taxations on feminine hygiene products. Many UK MPs even agree that the tax on such products is ridiculous yet it will difficult thing to irradiate.
Certain university campuses such as the University of Sussex student union have taken action and axed the tax on their the tampons sold on campus. Rianna Gargiulo, who is the welfare officer at the union said on the topic, “It’s something that happens to you biologically, that you have no choice over and it’s unfair that the government doesn’t recognise it…If we went around bleeding everywhere, I don’t think they’d be very happy about that.”
Although it may be a long road ahead, Canada abolishing the tax has helped to shine a light on this tedious tax. If you haven’t already, please make sure to sign the petition below and increase the pressure on the UK and EU governments.
‘Women bleed once a month. And then pay tax on it.’