Image from Vice.com. Photo by Lily Rose Thomas.

The what? Yes, the Tampon Tax. That’s what I said. The controversial tax on tampons is a topic that has been featured heavily in the British news over the past few weeks, although the tax itself has existed since 1973 (though the tax was lowered to 5% in 2001). What exactly is the Tampon Tax and why is the British Parliament discussing it? What impact does this have on British women and girls? Here are 5 things you should know about it:

1. Tampons are viewed as ‘Luxury Items’
Yes, it’s true. Tampons and sanitary towels are classed as ‘luxury’ or ‘non-essential items’ by the European Commission. So are other items such as maternity pads and children’s car seats.

2. The tax on Tampons is higher than that on Jaffa Cakes, helicopters and crocodile meat
As a result of their ‘luxury item’ status, tampons are taxed at the higher rate of 5%, as opposed to other ‘essential items’ such as helicopters, Jaffa Cakes and exotic meats which remain untaxed!

3. It costs the average woman £2000 to menstruate
One brainy lady has worked out that menstruation costs the average woman and girl nearly £2000 in a lifetime; a sexist tax which discriminates only women and girls.

4. Tweet your Tampon
Girls and women everywhere have taken to social media to stress their outrage at this ludicrous tax. Search #tampontax to see thousands of selfie-takers with their ‘luxury’ sanitary products!

5. British political parties have been campaigning over 15 years for this change
There are, thankfully, Members of Parliament that are fully against this sexist tax, many of whom have been campaigning for change since 2000.

-Chloe Simm
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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