South Africa Abolishes Tax on Sanitary Pads

Come April 2019, the 15 percent tax on sanitary pads in South Africa will be scrapped. This was made known by the newly appointed Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni who promised additional funds to ensure female students have access to sanitary pads pending the elimination of the tax.

In recent years, there have been growing calls to remove the tax on sanitary pads or make the menstrual product totally free especially for those in poor, rural communities because female students have been missing out on school as they cannot afford pads given they are quite expensive.

This high cost of sanitary pads is usually a result of the pink tax, a phenomenon often attributed as a form of gender-based price discrimination, where products marketed specifically for women are generally more expensive than similar items marketed at men.

Thirty percent of Africa’s population (357 million people) are girls and women aged 10 to 50 years. The average woman has her period for 2,535 days of her life, that is nearly seven years out of 39 years (5 days per 28-day cycle) of buying sanitary pads.
In the average woman’s lifetime, she uses 11,000 tampons or 22 sanitary pads per period. The average tampon in South Africa cost about R1.50 each ($0.10), R33 ($2.27) per period and R16500 ($1,135) for a lifetime. Meanwhile, a pack of ten sanitary pads cost R18 ($1.24), translating to about R36 ($2.5) a period or R19800 ($1,362) a lifetime. This means that having a period is a luxury more than half of the population cannot afford.
In Nigeria, a campaign has started on social media calling on the government to end tax on sanitary pads. Kenya became the first country in the world to end the tampon tax in 2014. The country also stopped import duty on sanitary pads in 2011 as a way of reducing costs for low-income women and girls but 65 percent of women and girls (pdf) are still unable to afford sanitary pads. As awareness on the need to end this tax grows, more countries across the continent are expected to act. As Stuart Lewisputs it in an article for Daily Vox, the price of sanitary pads is a tax On womanhood.
In Nigeria, a campaign has started on social media calling on the government to end tax on sanitary pads. Kenya became the first country in the world to end the tampon tax in 2014. The country also stopped import duty on sanitary pads in 2011 as a way of reducing costs for low-income women and girls but 65 percent of women and girls (pdf) are still unable to afford sanitary pads. As awareness on the need to end this tax grows, more countries across the continent are expected to act. As Stuart Lewisputs it in an article for Daily Vox, the price of sanitary pads is a tax On womanhood.

The Nerve Africa

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