Table of Contents
- The Impact of Perception of Periods on Feminine Products
- The Reasons Why Feminine Products Should Be Free
- Initiatives to Spread Awareness of the Issue
Rags, newspapers and recycled tampons. These unhygienic products are used by 1 in 10 women because of the expense placed on menstrual products. This is equivalent to 7.6 million females worldwide. Tampons, pads, and other items used are essential for women to manage their periods and to stay healthy. However, the lack of accessibility to these expensive necessities is forcing females to isolate themselves, face life-threatening problems, and deal with the New Zealand Government’s sexist and unjust attitudes toward these products. Here are my why period products should be free essay arguments.
The Impact of Perception of Periods on Feminine Products
The idea that periods are ‘disgusting’ and ‘unnatural’ has led women to feel embarrassed, particularly in the discussion and issue about how dear these products on our store shelves are. Currently, Kiwi women have to pay $5-$15 a week to stay hygienic. This totals to nearly $16,000 in their lifetime. By not having enough money to simply pay for personal cleanliness women can experience extreme embarrassment, and for students, can lead to them avoiding school. Being absent 7 days, every month will greatly impact female New Zealander’s education. When a female student attends school, severe medical conditions such as Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) can be caused by the overuse and reuse of unhygienic and previously used sanitary items. Bacterial toxins from these used products allow the potential for life-threatening complications to happen. The extremity of re-wearing sanitary products not only causes physical issues but also encourages mental health problems as stress and worry envelop students from the possibility of contracting TSS. No female wants to feel unhealthy and face the risks involved with using old tampons and pads. The need for these sanitary products has become so extreme that women are stealing these items from supermarkets. Kiwi women are jeopardizing their safety and allowing the possibility of being arrested, just for wanting to stay clean. In most cases, these women are getting caught by the Police and have to pay undeserved fees. Just for wanting to stay clean. That's why feminine products should be free!
The Reasons Why Feminine Products Should Be Free
For some reason, the government seems to think that pads and tampons are a 'luxury item'. Not a necessity but something that we are lucky to have in our lives. As well as that, they are making money off of our purchases because we are so privileged to use these products. This equates to $800 per year of GST being collected. For generations men have always been in charge, writing society's laws and making decisions, even when more relevant to women. This is seen here with the term ‘luxury’ as men have deemed these items not necessary enough to be GST-free. What would happen if we had more women in power? Would these sexist views on sanitary products be applicable? Would women be paying $800 of GST over these necessities? Or would feminine products become free of charge? Women did not choose to be born female. Women do not have the choice to bleed 7 days a month, and I do not have the choice of whether I can or can not use tampons. No person decides their gender. Women should have the right to decide whether or not these mandatory products should be GST-free, especially when this problem is most relevant only to women. Jody Hopkins, a private citizen, requested Pharmac for these funds. Her appeal was rejected on the terms that “In Pharmacy view, sanitary products are not seen as medical devices and it's impossible to make the feminine products free.” This is all they said. No further explanation. It is clear how little this Governmental drug-buying agency values the importance of women's issues with the expenses put on sanitary products, but also with the importance of female New Zealander’s physical and mental health. As an outcome of this statement more and more Kiwi females have formed the idea that this Government written law is sexist whilst allowing women to feel marginalized. To further enhance this sexist view, other items such as condoms and plasters are GST-free, even though menstruation is a lot harder to refrain from than sex. Females cannot refrain from their natural menstrual cycle and especially can’t change having a uterus. For this reason, why is it women are being taxed for having a uterus?
Initiatives to Spread Awareness of the Issue
Through pure shock towards New Zealander's desperation for sanitary products, Zarna Blossom with a friend created the initiative ‘Pink Packets’ to fundraise and collect sanitary products to help women in ‘period poverty.’ With this Blossom said, "One girl that got done for shoplifting was stealing tampons. Well obviously she's not stealing it for fun so that was a shock to me ... that was how desperate she was that she would go to the supermarket and try and steal tampons." Not wanting to take this lying down, Blossom organized to gather 200 sanitary products for women in need in her community. This number continues to grow. A campaign with Countdown and The Salvation Army was also organized, creating an online initiative allowing shoppers to donate $15 hygiene packs. From here, the packs get delivered to The Salvation Army Food Bank and given out there. There are many more other great initiatives all throughout New Zealand yet, why are they not more made aware of? This makes the discussion about menstruation products even more important as the embarrassment of our society shouldn’t prevent this issue from being heard and additionally understood. Women’s unheard calls for help should allow for sanitary products to be free.
Females all over New Zealand—and the world—are stuck in the difficult situation of how expensive sanitary products are. From this, the prices are preventing students from going to school, making women have to deal with GST on top of regular prices of $5-$15 a week and also the burdensome privacy and embarrassment towards this topic. Why should women have to deal with this extra inconvenience? Menstruation is not a choice, it’s a biological imperative, and that's why feminine products should be free or very affordable!