In most shops, you are paying a 5% tax on your tampons, towels and other period products. When it’s that time of the month you don’t need the added stress of having to worry about the price of your menstrual products.
A little bit of background
You might be surprised to know, there wasn’t always a tax on menstrual products. The UK government introduced this tax in 1973 when it became part of the European Economic Community at a rate of 10% over the years the rate has increased and dropped. It is currently at the lowest it has been since its introduction. The tax falls under value-added tax (VAT) which means purchasing products for periods are seen as a luxury which should not be the case. Laura Coryton, a feminist activist didn’t think 5% or any tax rate added to menstrual products was fair. So in 2015, she began a petition to make menstrual products tax-exempt it gathered over 320,000 signatures and was then passed to the government who have begun taking steps to remove this tax. Want to get involved? Well you can, to see Laura’s petition and get the lowdown click here.
How are we supporting you?
You should know that here at the SU we don’t believe you should be taxed on period products, that’s why at the Store and Extra Store there are tax-free period products available. If you’ve been looking for a certain product and can’t find it, then grab a tag from the product request wall and we will do our best to get it in stock for you!
“We are really proud as an SU to be able to offer tax-free menstrual products and us in the women’s network completely support people with their periods”
[Molly Purcell, Women’s Officer]
Caught off guard?
Run out of menstrual products or started earlier than expected whilst you’re on campus? Then don’t worry we’ve got you covered! At SU Reception you can pick up some free menstrual products to get you through.
“We have tampons and sanitary pads in reception. When someone comes in and asks for something I normally ask them to come into the office so they can take what they need in private and not in front of everyone.”
[Nichola Dyer, SU Reception Manager]
Being proud of your period
A period is natural; it is something we should celebrate, not be ashamed of or uncomfortable talking about. Since around half the worlds population is or will be experiencing periods it is really important that periods are spoken about and we realise that they should not be hidden.
Can you imagine not being able to afford or have access to a tampon or towel when you’re on? Well, we should be aware of people across the world who struggle with having a period because they lack the funding or resources to get the products they need to go about their daily lives. This is what is known as period poverty and for some, it means that they miss school or work due to their periods which in turn can have a detrimental impact on their education and economic status.
Another underrepresented issue is those who are tackling the symptoms of menopause and experiencing changes to their bodies that are sometimes ignored by those around them. We might also want to consider the people who suffer from the effects of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) which can involve changes in their body and/or emotional state the week or two before they are due to start their period. There are people who have to deal with severe changes in their mood and even depression and anxiety the weeks coming up to their period, which is known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).
These are all topics that revolve around periods that need to be highlighted and acknowledged in society. Not only should we be normalising talking about periods but accepting that this is something that is part of who you are by learning to embrace it and support one another.
Enjoy your periods!