The US is more progressive than Europe when it comes to the tampon tax

Narjas Tzatat@NtheodoraK
Monday 07 March 2016 17:00

Britain must face an unwelcome truth: That America, creator of the Donald Trump and ambiguous gun laws that allow a blind person to buy a gun, is still the more progressive country.

When it comes to women, Federal law states that sanitary products, which includes tampons and sanitary towels are exempt from taxation.

However, taxes vary on a state-by-state basis, with 40 out of 50 US states choosing to enforce the so-called tampon tax.

But lawmakers in Wisconsin are moving towards abolishing the tax on menstruation, after all there's already a sales tax exemption for treating erectile dysfunction in the state.

Representative Melissa Sargent, a Democrat from Madison who sponsored a bill that calls for lawmakers to exempt feminine hygiene products from the state sales tax, told NPR:

Women's health has been misunderstood and neglected throughout history.

Some women are ashamed of their period.

The move comes as a reminder that the UK imposes a 5 per cent tax on female sanitary products, considering them to be "luxury items" while crocodile meat and chocolate body paint are exempt from taxation.

A campaign petitioning chancellor George Osborne to abolish this tax has been gaining traction with over 300,000 signatures to date.

Periods are no luxury. You can ‘opt-in’ to extravagance. You cannot choose to menstruate. Despite this, a whole heap of disadvantages have been created for those who do. Not using sanitary products can lead to health risks, jeopardise maintaining a normal, professional or personal life, and result in public ridicule, the website states.

Sanitary products fall under an agreement made by EU- member states in 1979, and a 17.5 per cent tax was initially imposed, and then reduced to five per cent in 2000.

As a result of EU membership, the UK cannot remove the taxation without first consulting the other 27 member states.

David Cameron could, however, propose a review of current EU taxation policy and make the issue a priority.

In response to a question posed by a student about lifting VAT on sanitary products filmed by Sky last year, he summed up his position on the matter:

It’s quite difficult to do it within the frame work of European laws. I can’t remember the answer.

Well, there you have it. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom can't remember the answer to why female sanitary products are taxed.

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