I want to talk about periods; sanitary products to be specific. I know this topic won’t be news to most of you because I’m almost 100% certain that you would have seen this on the news or on social media but just in case you’ve somehow missed it I’ll explain. In the UK sanitary products has had a 5% tax rate placed on them since 2000 and well.. a lot of people aren’t happy about it including myself! Although this debate has been going on for a while, I wish I knew sooner because it’s only been recently that it’s caught my eye. Since then I decided to do some research so I could make a proper judgement and now I know why this is the case, it’s absolutely ridiculous and I think you might agree with me too!
Sorry I didn’t publish this post sooner as uni work has taken over but it’s never too late to speak your mind!
Because of EU law, the tax rate on sanitary products in the UK cannot be reduced to 0% which sucks on its own. This means that
we need the Government to convince the European Parliament to review this, sounds simple right? It would if it not be for the politicians who recently rejected the bill by 305 to 287 votes. So there’s that, and the fact that sanitary products are classed as “non-essential, luxury” items. Non-essential.. are you serious? Sanitary products are ESSENTIAL for women when they’re on their periods so they are prevented from the embarrassment of everyone else knowing (and seeing) that they’re on.
For me it’s not even the cost that’s the main issue because if you compare it to when the sanitary tax was 17.5% then it doesn’t sound that much. It’s the principal of the whole situation and the way it’s being dealt with that’s annoyed me to the core! I feel like our government aren’t taking it seriously and are treating it like it’s not important just because the majority of them don’t deal with it themselves. This doesn’t mean that it’s true but sadly it’s how it’s coming across to me.
Social media can be a powerful thing which is why I went to Twitter to ask people for their thoughts on this and here are the replies I got:
Evidently there are many people out there that want the tampon tax to be scrapped yet there are ways to get closer to that goal. For example Frank mentioned in his tweet that there is a need for the poorest to get free sanitary products in particular and I couldn’t agree more! Liza also kindly offered to talk about her thoughts in more detail and of course I said yes so she’s what she had to say:
“It is astounding to me that the male MP that is supposed to be representing me in my home constituency of Cheltenham, along with the other 250 odd men who will never have to pay this tax, decided that I should. But it’s not really about the money, it’s about the embarrassment that we face that leads to women across the world suffering. It’s about the girls who have to drop out of school because they don’t have access to basic sanitation, it’s about the homeless women who have to use makeshift tissue and sit in soiled underwear, these are the true costs of attitudes that lead to such a decision. I’m fed up of experiencing crippling pain two days a month but smiling through it because I don’t want to make anyone else ‘uncomfortable’. Getting rid of the tampon tax would have been a great way for our government to say that they are supporting half of the population and to show that they can break the stigma, which will hopefully in turn help those who are suffering far more than I, and they let us down.”
Speaking of breaking the stigma, Liza done a post on just that so I highly recommend you go have a read after this!
Quick thank you to everyone that shared their opinions on this topic for me as I really wanted to make sure that people’s voices were shown in this post. If you want to do the same then feel free to comment below!
As a result of me being on the contraceptive implant I don’t have periods regularly like I used to and sometimes it could be months till I get one. This sounds like a great escape but I don’t get away with it that easily because when I do get that ‘luxurious’ period, the pain is freaking horrific! I’m grateful that I can afford to buy sanitary products when I need them most is because there are women out there who can’t. There are homeless women in the UK that can’t afford to buy sanitary products and have no access to getting them for free which makes ‘that time of the month’ even worse! I can’t imagine the dread of figuring out what to do when the periods start with nothing being available, it’s so horrible to even think about yet there are women going through it right now. Luckily there is a campaign running called The Homeless Period that help gather sanitary products to supply to places like homeless shelters to help those that can’t afford it. Personally if I had it my way I would make it so sanitary products were completely free and easily accessible to everyone although I agree with those who say making them tax-free would be a great starting point!
So how does this affect you? Well in my opinion it affects everyone because even if you don’t have periods yourself you will know someone who does. Everyone deserves to feel like they’re being treated equally and with respect so why is it that things like jaffa cakes and pitta bread are tax free but sanitary products aren’t? To me it just doesn’t make sense because sanitary products are essential, no exceptions! I do think part of the problem is that even mentioning periods can be difficult as some will look at you with disgust although it’s completely nature. We need to stop being afraid to talk to about periods because maybe then more people will understand how significant it really is and we can even move past this weird stigma around it! Don’t you agree?
If you didn’t know already there’s a online petition that start about a year ago to convince the Government to stop taxing periods. I’ve just signed it now so if you want to as well then you can go to the link and do so if you’d like! Before I end this post (I know it is lengthy one compared to normal) I thought I would leave you with this thought I had a while ago but apart from that thank you for getting this far and I’ll see you soon 🙂
If periods were such a ‘luxury’ wouldn’t everyone including men want one? I didn’t think so.