The U.K. government recently voted against an outright call to remove the 5 percent levy on sanitary products and three “tampon tax” protestors made a strong statement about the result outside Parliament on Saturday.
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They ditched their sanitary products for the day and wore white trousers while on their period.
Self-proclaimed “queer Riot Grrrl” Charlie Edge, one of the protestors, shared images of the day on her social media accounts, writing that tampons are “not luxury items, anymore than Jaffa cakes, edible cake decorations, exotic meats, or any other number of things currently not taxed as luxury items.”
— Furiously Feminist (@HiSoFurious) November 8, 2015
Currently tampons are subject to EU tax — meaning that women are charged a government fee to purchase them — because female sanitary products are classed as a “luxury item.” Which is crazy — even more so when you consider that edible cake decorations, helicopters, adult nappies, flapjacks, toffee apples and crocodile meat are in the non-luxury/essential category.
Research suggests that some women may spend up to £18,450 during their lifetime on tampons and other sanitary products.
Edge and her fellow protestors have received praise for their impactful “free bleeding” demonstration but also some negative feedback — to which Edge had a perfect, well thought-out response we’d challenge anyone to argue with:
The Finance Bill amendment, which would have forced a negotiation with the EU for a reduction in the 5 percent VAT rate, was rejected by 305 to 287 votes, reported the BBC. The government has agreed to raise the issue of tampon tax with EU leaders but this is unlikely to have much effect, because all 28 EU member states must be in agreement in order to remove the tax.
A petition calling for a change in the law has over 269,000 signatures.
More: Taxing tampons isn’t just sexist — it’s putting a financial strain on women