The United Kingdom announced that it will no longer be taxing tampons and sanitary pads starting Jan. 1 2021, according to Cosmopolitan.
Currently, the UK is bound by European Union law to charge a 5% value-added tax to women’s sanitary products, which the EU has labelled non-essential, according to Sky News.
Abolishing this tax could save women, on average, almost £40 over the course of their lifetimes, Cosmopolitan said.
“The end of this tax symbolises the end of a symptom of sexism and the period taboo, which has created period poverty and has stopped girls from going to school,” Laura Coryton, founder of the Stop Taxing Periods campaign, told the Guardian.
Period poverty has been an ongoing problem in the UK. One in 10 girls or women aged 14 to 21 are not able to afford period products in the UK, and an estimated 49% of girls have missed a day of school because of their periods. Girls in the UK have also reportedly been teased or stigmatized due to their periods.
Big news!! 📣— Free Periods (@AmikaGeorge) March 6, 2020
Period products are NOT luxuries & removal of #TamponTax is long overdue!
Sending congratulations to @LauraCoryton, @paulasherriff & all those amazing campaigners who fought so hard to force Govt to take this action 👏#PeriodRevolutionhttps://t.co/kU1n7huioj
The UK has taken some steps to address this issue in recent years. In 2018, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free for its students, and last year, Britain announced that it would be making women’s sanitary products free in its schools.
Efforts to end unjust taxes on period products are spreading around the world.
Australia also got rid of its tampon tax in 2018, Germany announced late last year that it would no longer tax tampons as luxury items. In the US, states such as California, Nevada, and New York have eliminated tampon taxes.
Period poverty is a major issue worldwide and 2.3 billion people live without access to basic sanitation services. Period poverty and stigmas surrounding menstruation are factors that prevent women from obtaining equal opportunities for work and education, which in turn furthers the cycle of poverty.