A key takeaway from Mane Project's I Am Eva interview is period poverty: where women and girls are disadvantaged simply because they cannot afford sanitary products. This sparked a lot of chat in the office as we all wanted to know what causes period poverty and why is it only nowadays that people are talking about it?
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Did you know that in many countries like America and the United Kingdom, tampons and pads are charged a sales tax because they are considered luxury items? Periods are not a luxury, I'm sure every woman on the planet would agree.
The tactic for this sales tax, also known as the "Pink Tax", is to "Shrink it and Pink it". Basically, brands will redesign the packaging of products to look aesthetically appealing to women to increase the sales price. Things like razors, shaving cream, deodorant and face wash are all priced higher for women than the same products for men making blue cheaper than pink. Who would've thought colour had such an effect on the hair removal process?
However, there is an easy solution to buying products like razors: just buy the boys' ones and move on. But when there is a tax that is so targeted at the biology of women, you can't help but feel like you've been kicked in the lady-purse. The idea that periods are so luxurious that sanitary products indulge such decadence is a bloody pain! (Get it? Classic.)
Since the awareness of a Pink Tax has increased, so has the discussion surrounding period poverty, but like most topics on menstruation, period poverty is faced with a lot of discomfort.
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According to research conducted by Otago University, 6.3% of girls start their period before they hit intermediate. This is furthered by a survey from KidsCan which revealed that 23.6% of respondents have missed school due to a lack of access to sanitary products.
At the moment, Australia is leading the way by kicking off 2019 by scrapping the Pink Tax on tampons. However, Deloitte tax partner Allan Bullot said it is "extremely unlikely", for New Zealand to follow suit due to what underpins GST: not allowing exemptions to the 15% tax.
Philanthropy NZ estimates that women spend a monthly average of $30NZD on sanitary products ($360 annually). In New Zealand, the average length a woman menstruates in her lifetime is 39 years (13yrs-52). Where does that leave us?
Sustainable choices can also be money savers. Making a one-off purchase for a pair of reusable period underwear from I Am Eva for $41 (or even better, purchase their buy-one/gift-one) seems like a no brainer. Just think of the amount of money you as an individual will save as well as aiding in alleviating the financial pressure from those living with period poverty. Don't even get me started on the environmental bonuses that period-proof underwear has!
Sometimes change isn't about calling out the baddies. Change is as simple as making one vital decision that has levels of positive impacts. GET INTO LADIES!