Only women bleed, sang Alice Cooper. And only women pay taxes on the products they use to deal with the fact that this happens. Sanitary products such as tampons are taxed as non-essential, luxury items at 5%. So are maternity pads. Some products remain exempt from this tax – such as edible sugar flowers and alcoholic jellies – but tampons are our little treat, aren’t they? We spoil ourselves silly with such luxury.
Actually lately there have been horrendous reports of girls not going to school because they cannot afford sanitary protection. It is shocking that period poverty should be happening in 2017 – but it is. Recently I watched products being distributed in a homeless shelter – tampons were the first thing women asked for. This is an expense that women have little choice about. If the average woman menstruates 450 times over a lifetime, it is estimated that will have cost her £18,450 (taking into account sanitary protection, pain relief and new underwear).
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