Scrap the Period Tax: new website and webinar

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  • inajurga
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  • International Coordinator Menstrual Hygiene Day / Head of Education, WASH United
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Scrap the Period Tax: new website and webinar

Many low-income women and girls around the world are unable to afford  menstrual products.

In recent years, there has been growing advocacy  momentum for the reduction or removal of taxes on menstrual products to  improve affordability and advance overall gender equality. Targeted  advocacy campaigns have already contributed to the reduction or removal
of taxes on menstrual products in several countries.

Together with Global Health Visions and the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition we are hosting a Period Tax Webinar on 19th November from 3-4:30 CET to provide an in-depth review of the issue.

Register here:

More specifically, the event will present new research on the economic  impact of the reduction/removal of taxes on menstrual products and
highlight experiences and learnings from advocacy campaigns in three  countries (Bangladesh, Nigeria, South Africa).

Moreover, we’re excited to announce that we will launch the new periodtax.org website at the webinar. Created by WASH United, periodtax.org will be the most comprehensive online resource for advocates and decision-makers on the issue to date, including a country database and global tax map, campaign case studies, and advocacy guide and explanatory videos.
International Coordinator Menstrual Hygiene Day
WASH United
www.wash-united.org
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  • Chaiwe
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Re: Scrap the Period Tax: new website and webinar

Dear Ina,

As a follow-up on what I am certain was a successful webinar and website launch. I would like to request that you share the recording here for interested persons that could have missed it. 

The website is impressive! and works as a great advocacy tool. 

As it stands, 1 in 10 girls in Africa misses school when they are on their period and others risk infection from using unhygienic products or not changing them often enough, and 20% of girls in Sub-saharan Africa drop out of school due to period poverty.  blogs.worldbank.org/education/globally-p...rls-be-absent-school . Therefore, tax exemption on menstrual hygiene management products is important in lessening the use of unhygienic products among those that cannot afford proper sanitary pads, lessening school absenteeism among school-going girls, and reducing or eventually ending period poverty.

A small but growing number of African countries like Rwanda, Kenya, Botswana, Mauritania, Ethiopia (In addition to the two you mentioned) have joined in the movement of tax exemption on menstrual products in a bid to increase their affordability despite
the supposed tax loss that this move may come with. Kenyan and South African governments have committed to providing sanitary pads for free in certain public institutions like schools in order to widen access to these products, while other governments are stimulating local production of Menstrual Hygiene Management products in order to lessen the cost on raw materials. assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/governm...anitary-products.pdf

In 2019, Kenya announced its ‘National Menstrual Hygiene Management policy’. In Rwanda, the ministry of education, with support from the ministries of health and local government introduced ‘The Girl’s room’ (Icyumba cy’umukobwa) in schools, an initiative that saw girls who have gone into their period unexpectedly or experience any menstrual-related issues have access to a room equipped with sanitary pads, towels, pain killers, a bed, etc. which are provided free of charge for girls who cannot afford them.  www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/192169                                                                                                                                               

Not having attended the webinar myself, these are some immediate examples i felt i could share on the topic. It would be great to read about or hear more about the key outcomes of the webinar discussions.

Kind Regards,
Chaiwe
Co-moderator SuSanA forum
(Under consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

Chaiwe Mushauko-Sanderse BSc. NRM, MPH
Independent consultant located in Lusaka, Zambia
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @ChaiweSanderse

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  • inajurga
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  • International Coordinator Menstrual Hygiene Day / Head of Education, WASH United
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Re: Scrap the Period Tax: new website and webinar

Dear Chaiwe,

You can re-watch the recording and download the presentation here:
https://menstrualhygieneday.org/webinarperiodtax/
I also added the key take-aways from the webinar in the link.

The periodtax.org website created by WASH United is a global repository to learn more about period taxes.
Here you can find a map and database that includes the information on which countries have removed taxed or active campaigns. Kenya, and Rwanda have removed VAT.  Ethiopia has only a campaign. If you have any information regarding Botswana and Mauretania - please share and we can update the database!

Because taxes are only a fraction of the price of a product and price decrease depends on different variables, one of the key conclusion is that making products more affordable for the very poor requires additional policy measures, such as Kenya (who removed taxes in the early 2004) and South Africa (removed it in 2018) who make additional provisions.  As you rightly shared.
This can be found in following reports:
  1. WASH United: What impact does a VAT removal has on the final price of menstrual products: https://www.periodtax.org/documents/periodtax-research-report.pdf 
  2. Laura Rossouw and Hana Ross „An Economic Assessment of Menstrual Hygiene Product Tax Cuts“ https://gatesopenresearch.org/documents/4-137
  3. Susan Fox / Global Health Vision: Advocating for Affordability. The story of  menstrual hygiene product tax advocacy in four countries (Bangladesh,  Kenya, Nigeria, Soth Africa).  https://www.globalhealthvisions.com/docs/advocating-for-affordability

p.S. We , and many other actors, abstain from using the statistic  "1 in 10 girls in Africa misses school when they are on their period". It is  unfortunately one of those stats that keeps circulating (even with Unesco and WB itself), as it is one of the only one across Africa. However,  the original source is an older WorldBank document, that provides no solid prove or sources for this. So it is an outdated and unreliable figure :(
International Coordinator Menstrual Hygiene Day
WASH United
www.wash-united.org
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  • Chaiwe
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Re: Scrap the Period Tax: new website and webinar

Hello Ina,

Thank you for sharing the links to the webinar and the additional reports. Might be something for the newly created African Women in Sanitation Professionals Network to consider looking into so that we can push this agenda across the African continent.

I did a little more research concerning the '1 in 10 school-age girls in Africa misses school or drops out for reasons related to her period' statistic and I did not come across a precise insight on what informed it. There are some studies that have been carried out within African countries on the effect of menstruation on girls’ school attendance. The actual situation across the continent however remains unknown.   Here is an article I found to back your claim, i.e. that "The widely cited claim that 1 in 10 school-age girls in Africa miss school due to menstruation is unfounded.". Interesting!! africacheck.org/reports/no-data-shows-1-...use-of-menstruation/  

Have you by any chance come across any resource with more factual statistics with regards to the subject?

Regards,
Chaiwe
Co-moderator SuSanA forum
(Under consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

Chaiwe Mushauko-Sanderse BSc. NRM, MPH
Independent consultant located in Lusaka, Zambia
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @ChaiweSanderse

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Scrap the Period Tax: new website and webinar

Hi Ina,

If you want more awareness around the term "period tax" then I recommend that you turn to Wikipedia and improve the information available there. Until 5 minutes ago, there was not even an entry for "period tax" on Wikipedia! I have rectified that by placing a redirect from "period tax" to the existing article on "tampon tax":
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tampon_tax

With the information that you have gathered on your website you could now easily improve the article on tampon tax. Furthermore, I suggest starting a discussion on the article's talk page to rename it to "period tax" - this would be a much better name than the Euro-centric "tampon tax". I call it Euro-centric because tampons are widely used in Europe and North America but not as much in Asia and Africa (don't have numbers available for this at my finger tips).

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. Thanks for busting the myth on the "1 in 10 school-age girls in Africa misses school or drops out for reasons related to her period" statistic. Will be interesting to see what the actual figure is - for Africa or for the whole world. My gut feeling is that a) it's lower and that b) it depends on the age of the girl/young woman. I can imagine that school drop outs for older girls (16 or 18 years old) might become higher as they are pushed into early marriage at that stage (and the period being a sign that she's "old enough"). 
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(under consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
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Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
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  • DavidAlan
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  • David Crosweller
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Re: Scrap the Period Tax: new website and webinar

I can give some experience of girls missing school in India, but as you might imagine it is complicated based on age, whether there are gender separated toilets, attitude of parents etc. The report needs to be paid for, but Neilson estimated that 23% of girls drop out of school when they start their periods ( theswaddle.com/period-bullying-keeps-ind...ls-away-from-school/ ). There are interesting stories in the article that we have heard replicated elsewhere. One head teacher told us that if a girl starts her period at school, three girls go missing – no girl can walk on her own – so three girls walk
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home so that two can return to school (hope this is clear).

We started Happy Periods in 2019, which is now Wash in Schools incorporating CV19 prevention measures, in which a lot of training is given not just to girls, but also boys and both male and female teachers.

I attach the final document that was presented to AusAid through which the original funding came.

We have an application with an organisation to carry out something similar in Sierra Leone. CV19 caused a delay in funding, but hopefully this will happen this year. It involved 5,000 girls (half of which are control).

Anyway, I hope this helps a bit!

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