# NO Taxation with Menstruation

Tampons are still classed as “non-essentail items”, causing all sanitary products to have VAT. Periods have been taxed since 1973. In 2001 the VAT was decreased to 5%, but you won’t see me celebrating until there is a zero rate on all basic sanitary products, and here’s why:

So here we have it: being taxed on tampons, yet another reminder that our masoginistic ancestors are still heavily haunting us.

I refused to be taxed for the control of a natural physiological process in my body.

People tell me “you only buy what, a box a month? Removing tax will save like 10p a month?” *she sighs*. Let’s do the maths shall we? For you naive souls let me enlighten you to a more realistic amount of tampons the average women would use in their lifetime (I recognise this is heavily based on assumptions, nevertheless the point is still made). The average age for a girl to start their period is 12.5, the average age to reach menopause is 50 and a woman’s average life expectancy in the world is 80 (according to the World Health Organisation, 2010). Many factors can effect the amount of tampons needed: rate of flow, length of period etc. but for arguments sake we will say 2 boxes a period will surfice. Now for the calculations:

50–12.5 = 37.5 years of periods

37.5 x 12 = 450 periods in a lifetime

£2.70 (x1 box of average tampons, price taken from Tesco)

£2.70 x 2 = £5.40 a period

450 x £5.40 = £2, 430

I needn’t say no more.

If you haven’t read the article “If Men Could Menstruate” by Gloria Steinem, I suggest you do. For those of you arguing that it is simply a financial factor that is causing us to fight against £2, 430 spending in a life time, I’m afraid you are about to be put in your place.

Period tax is only making period taboo worse. Why should women feel ashamed and unable to talk about periods? Periods are a natural thing, something all women are affected by in some manner. It’s blood, good blood. Blood that’s allowing all you men and women to bare children. Get over it. I stand for the fact that period taboo needs to be fought and removed, we have been made to feel shameful about menstruation for too long. Removing taxation and claiming sanitory products to be “essential” items is only a step closer.

Tampons are not a luxury. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a woman raving about tampons as some kind of glorious product that adds to their everyday excitements. However, I don’t deny every other women may praise the lord for their existence and necessity. Yes. Necessity. Not only do tampons allow women to continue their every day life, they also remove health risks that come from using alternative, unsanitory substitutions (hence I reiterate: a necessity). So surely there cannot be no taxation on other luxurious items, less vital than the function of containing a monthy leak of bodily fluid. But oh wait, shock horror. Edible cake decorations, bingo, Jaffa cakes, exotic meat, herbal tea, printing leaflets, to name a few, are all exempt from VAT (N.B these items are subject to other taxes and may be subject to VAT in the future)

I strongly believe in tax…most of the time. Tax can be unfair: “I don’t believe I personally benefit sufficiently from what it funds and therefore I don’t want to pay.” Hang on a minute. In an idealist’s world maybe you would prefer only to pay tax where you reap rewards. I am a non-smoking, healthy, childless citizen and a large amount of my tax goes to NHS bills for treating lung cancer and sectors of education that effects people I am never likely to meet. How disgraceful! Well obviously it’s not, as others subsidise stuff I do when it has nothing to do with them. I am not arguing tax is unfair, tax is a necessity within reason. But taxed tampons is not a price I’m willing to pay.

When will people understand that we do not choose to have periods, we do not choose to use tampons and we do not choose to pay for it. We’re not here to complain about the pain and inconvenience of having our uterine walls shredded from us, so don’t tell us off for whining. We are here to except the pain and ask to be treated fairly with the inconvenience we already have. Don’t make it any worse. Period.

*Trans who do not identify as women, who have a uterus are still recognised as being effected by this issue

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