Why is the Period Pants Tax an Issue of Gender Inequality?
Did you know that in the UK, Period Pants are taxed at 20% and considered a luxury item?!
Menstruation is a physical function, not a choice. Period taxes are discriminatory because they effectively tax women, girls and everyone with periods, who have no choice but to buy menstrual products because they menstruate.
Campaigns to remove or reduce period taxes will inevitably touch on issues of discrimination within laws, public policies and decision-making processes and trigger broader conversations about gender equality.
Lets us just observe what has happened in the last 6 months:
Scotland has a female first minister. It was the first country to give free period products to all. New Zealand has a female prime minister and is now the second country to give free menstrual products to all.
Can you see the pattern? One of the reasons that our periods are still taxed is because there are very few women in the decision making role in the UK. Had all men had periods, they would probably have been free since they were invented.
How can we change this?
Period education should be mandatory for all children so that we all grow up together understanding that it is a biological function and should not have tax, just like toilet paper.
This will also help in breaking any stigma and taboos around periods.
To be successful, campaigns on period taxes need the support of all genders. Hence it is extremely important to consciously involve men in the campaign and to position period taxes more broadly as an issue of justice and gender equality, rather than only a ‘women’s issue’!
Since we started WUKA, our founder has been campaigning to remove the tax from period pants.
Most of the tax on menstrual products was removed in January this year in the UK but period pants are still taxed at the luxury tax of 20%.
We feel this is unfair and again brings the question of injustice and inequality.
What can you do about it?
This International Women’s Day, raise your voice against this inequality.
Involve politicians and decision-makers to make our voice heard.
Tell them that having a period is not a choice, so why should we pay to bleed?
Periods are #notaluxury