TAXING PERIODS – YAY OR NAY?

Descartes said “I think, therefore I am”. I say, “I am a women, therefore I menstruate”.

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Yes, folks, this is it. Menstruation may be disgusting, annoying, painful, confusing and disgusting again, but it HAPPENS even to the best of us and thus, we have to let-it-be. I intentionally bolded the word HAPPENS, because some people seem to forget about this part. Some people such as George Osborne and the Conservatory Party in the UK.

This month, George Osborne (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) rolled out his final budget of the coalition government. According to this document, tampons are still classes as “luxury items. These products fall under the category of “non-essentials”, but helicopters, alcoholic jellies and exotic meats including crocodile and kangaroo are tax exempt products (here’s a list of other “essential” things that you don’t pay VAT for if you are in the UK).

As it was expected, reactions soon began to appear, starting with 21-year-old Laura Coryton who headed for 10 Downing Street on March 11 to demonstrate, armed with blown-up tampons soaked in red paint. However, no one listened to her. Thus, she created a petition on Chance.org which everyone is invited to sign, beautifully named “Stop taxing periods. Period.”

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“Sanitary products control and manage menstruation. They are essential because without them, those who menstruate would have no way of pursuing a normal, flexible, public or private life and would be at risk of jeopardizing their health”, it is argued in the petition.

Besides the health issue, a lot more other questions can be asked regarding the deeper sociological implication of this fact. If tampons are not considered to be essential objects, how are women supposed to work and function properly without them? Besides the pain and both physical and mental discomfort, imagine having to go to a really important meeting and be extremely self-conscious, always checking if you don’t have a huge stain on your skirt. I bet that is not the same feeling as wondering if you should eat crocodile or kangaroo meat at dinner.

However, the decision lies with the European Union and not the UK Government. For an item to become exempt from tax, all 28 member states in the EU would have to agree. In 2001, the tax was indeed reduced to five perfect because it was the lowest possible option under EU law. But what you can still do, if you want to get involved, is help raise awareness worldwide by signing the petition HERE.

 Written by IRP

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