Fed up with the lack of action, a group calling themselves the Vagina Army and consisting of leak/period-proof underwear company Modibodi, not-for-profit Share the Dignity and and media personalities Clementine Ford, Bianca Dye have united to send a blunt and persuasive message to the Australian Government on World Menstrual Hygiene Day - #gstfreevaginas #stopthevaginatax
The campaign launched via social media has encouraged women and men in Australia to post a photo of themselves holding a sign with the message #stoptaxingvaginas
Since 2000, the Australian Government has taxed every menstruating Australian 10% for the feminine hygiene products they use, be it tampons and pads or innovative feminine hygiene products like Modibodi period proof underwear. It is estimated that menstruation earns the Australian Government a staggering $25 million each year!
But the Vagina Army want to know why it is that the products for this common, everyday, normal bodily function continues to be taxed and if they continue to do so, why the funds are not being used to directly support women in need.
Clementine Ford, Social Activist and Columnist says “Classifying menstrual healthcare products as a 'luxury' is ridiculous. Menstrual healthcare products are essential to the ongoing ability of women and other menstruating people to participate in all of society, including the education system and the economy. Why are we forced to pay for a 'luxury tax' on something that is essential to our dignity and humanity? If menstruation were an issue that overwhelmingly affected men, this disparity would not exist."
According to Bianca Dye, well-known radio personality says “I am flabbergasted that on one hand, condoms, lubricants, sunscreen and nicotine patches are all tax-free because they are classed as important health goods, but the reproductive health and hygiene of 10 million Australians isn’t seen as an important health issue.”
Modibodi™ Founder Kristy Chong, who designed her high-tech knickers out of a desire to give women an attractive, comfortable and convenient period protection option said “In this day and age, sanitary items such as tampons, pads, cups or our Modibodi underwear should be exempt. But if they are not going to be exempt then surely we could use the money to help women in need.”
A spokesperson for Share the Dignity, Rochelle Courtenay states ”It’s time the Australian Government listens to the women of Australia and explores this tax as a social and health issue in which they could directly do some good.”
- Homeless women are forced to suffer the indignity of creating makeshift pads from newspapers or hand towels and cleaning themselves in public toilets;
- Some women are forced to steal the feminine hygiene items;
- Girls in some communities have to stay home from school because their families can't afford them.
“The human right to sanitation entitles everyone, without discrimination, to have physical and affordable access to sanitation, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, socially and culturally acceptable and that provides privacy and ensures dignity” -UN General Assembly Resolution 70/169
Whether you are a woman or a man, transgender or gender neutral join the Vagina Army by posting a photo of yourself holding a sign #gstfreevaginas #stopthevaginatax and share on social media.
Visit our Facebook page here to stay connected and across the cause.
Listen to the 92.5 Gold FM Interview below.