Tampons are too expensive, and governments aren’t doing anything to change that. There’s currently a Change.org petition in Australia to urge the government to remove GST from sanitary items here because they are a health necessity, just like condoms and lube (which yes, are exempt from GST). In the UK, #TheHomelessPeriod is going one step further, by urging the government to provide sanitary products to homeless women.
According to Refinery29, women make up 26% of the UK’s homeless population, and, much like the confusing taxation situation in Australia, while the provision of condoms is subsidized at homeless shelters, sanitary items are not subsidized nor provided.
Oliver Frost, Josie Shedden and Sara Bakhaty, who founded #TheHomelessPeriod and the accompanying Change.org petition, believe “tampons and [sanitary] towels should be made available through homeless shelters, the same way the government provides condoms”.
The trio have created a video that depicts the real struggle and humiliation of a homeless woman who can’t afford sanitary items.
The issue of subsidization of santiary items obviously reflects entrenched social beliefs, which our writer Kat Patrick unpacks here.
Recently, Canadian artist Rupi Kaur drew attention to these when her photo, depicting a fully-clothed woman with a tiny amount of menstrual blood on her trackpants, was removed by Instagram.
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