Playing Politics with Periods: Why the Abolition of the ‘Tampon Tax’ is Spreading Across the World
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From pet food to sunscreen, proposals to cut value-added tax (VAT) on a range of products and services are ever increasing. One of the best-known and far-reaching campaigns of this type has been the fight to abolish VAT on feminine hygiene products. More popularly known as the ‘tampon tax’, this issue has united campaigners from across to globe, contributing to policymakers in up to 25 countries removing or reducing taxes on menstrual products since Kenya’s landmark decision in 2004. Framed through a simple and evocative lens of fairness and equality, the campaign to end the ‘tampon tax’ has caught the attention of the public, press and policymakers alike, catapulting the oft-taboo issue of menstrual health to the top of the political agenda. Whilst social, economic, and menstrual health contexts vary per adopting country, the core message of the political announcements has stayed the same: abolishing the ‘tampon tax’ will address gender equality by resulting in more accessible and affordable menstrual products for women and girls.