A child and family-focused organization in Ghana, J Initiative, is impressing on the government to remove the 20% tax levy on sanitary pads.
The NGO believes the levy is a form of discrimination against women on the grounds of natural bodily function, a situation it describes as disappointing.
According to the NGO, the lack of Menstrual Hygiene and sanitation has a direct correlation with the girls dropping out of school and sometimes results in lower productivity at work.
In a statement, the NGO averred that the decision to tax sanitary pads was sadly an indictment on the nation’s collective dignity as a people. The United Nations statistics on adolescents, puts the adolescents, nearly 600 million girls aged 10 to 19 in the world today.
According to the UN, each of these girls has a limitless individual potential to contributing to national development, however, most of these girls are not able to sharpen or make their voices heard in the development.
J Initiative is thus calling for support by the signing of a petition to get the government re-classify sanitary pads as an unavoidable product that remains essential towards the achievement of the sustainable development goals.
Below is the full statement:
MEN(STRUATION) AND THE FIGHT FOR EQUITABLE GENDER RIGHTS
The International Day of the Girl Child (Day of the Girl) was celebrated recently to highlight issues concerning the gender inequality faced by young girls. This year’s theme was “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.”
According to the United Nations statistics on adolescents, there are nearly 600 million girls aged 10 to 19 in the world today. Each of these girls has limitless individual potential to contributing to national development; however, most of these girls are not able to sharpen or make their voices heard in the development because they all of a sudden disappeared.
Girls have had to battle with issues of inequities in secondary education to protection issues, which do not seem to receive the pragmatic action to addressing the challenges. Adolescent girls are differently affected in many ways and should benefit from targeted investments and programmes, in addressing their peculiar needs.
The high price of sanitary products and the impact on girls’ education is not just a problem in Ghana. According to a 2014 campaign, girls are also missing school in countries like India, Nepal, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone for the same reason.
Why is it wrong to tax menstruation?
It is obvious women are being discriminated against on the grounds of natural bodily function which is disappointing enough. The lack of Menstrual Hygiene and sanitation is in direct correlation with the girls dropping out of school and sometimes-lower productivity at work.
Indirect tax regimes depend on classification, thus: “essential” goods and “luxuries”. Sanitary pads must be classified as essential. “The decision to tax sanitary pads is sadly an indictment on our collective dignity as a people. It’s a shameful over-stretch of patriarchy” a “male activist”. Therefore, it is hypocritical for Ghana to be mentioned among countries celebrating today just as all other celebrations geared towards women and girls without abolishing the tax on sanitary pads.
Sanitary pads attract 20% import tax levy in Ghana under the Harmonized Code (HS code 9619002900) of the Ghana Revenue Authority as a way of celebrating the International Day of the Girl in honest and showing commitment to all that we say for women and girls, sanitary pads should attract zero tax. If our call is adhered to, then Ghana will join countries like Ireland, Kenya and Canada to become one of the few countries to make sanitary pads tax-free. Support the call to get sanitary pads reclassified as unavoidable by signing the petition below:
Investing in adolescent girls can have a formidable ripple effect to create a better world by 2030.
J Initiative and Junior Graphic will be intensifying education and advocacy on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) under its Happy School Girl Project (HSGP) to seek redress. Let’s all join the fight!