Urgent call for RSA Government to Legislate Menstrual Health & Hygiene Management in SA!
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Whilst there has been tremendous success in bringing the RSA Government to commit towards Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management thus far in South Africa, where Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni made budget commitments for a VAT Scrap and set aside R 157 Million for free sanitary products for indigent school girls as well as women who cannot afford. #TeamFreeSanitaryPads feels we are still far from the major objective at hand of eradicating period poverty for all women in South Africa and ending period stigma.
#TeamFreeSanitaryPads concern is sustainability for our South African women and girls, although a VAT Scrap has been plausible, inflation does play a major role in defining the purchasing power of consumers - yes there's making sanitary pads free - however we need to ensure that in the long-run the South African Government continues to prioritize women and girls through budget policy tools. We can only achieve this through our collective voices by signing of this petition and putting pressure on the South African Government to take urgent action.
#TeamFreeSanitaryPads is urgently calling for the RSA Government to Legislate the provision of Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management for young girls and women in South Africa by making sanitary pads as accessible as condoms in a sustainable approach for future generations.
The promulgation of a Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management Legislation will be in line with meeting the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals's (SDG's) which support inclusive and equitable qaulity education (SDG4) and the promotion of access to career advancement opportunities especially for young girls and women per gender eqaulity (SDG 5). Furthermore, access to sanitary dignity is a Human Right as per Section 27 of South Africa's Constitution.
#TeamFreeSanitaryPads pillars of suggestions are as follows per what the South African Menstrual Health and Hygiene Bill should take into account:
1. Women Empowerment:
1.1 Keep girls in Education Institutions and women in Corporate Spaces where Menstrual Health does not hinder their progress.
1.2 Level the career playing field in government as well as business per the universal call for gender parity ( deconstructing systemic non-inclusive practices based on gender).
1.3 Encourage the development of more NGO's in return for creation of Jobs with Socio-Entrepreneurs local production of, South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) approved, sanitary products.
1.4 Equal pay for women to meet their Health Living needs and expand their career prospects
2. Conversations to deconstruct narratives by ending the stigma:
2.1 Introduction of qaulity Menstrual Health and Hygiene Education in schools, community libraries and higher learning institutions.
2.2 Introduction of qaulity Menstrual Health and Hygiene Education in various public spaces through use of Billboards as well as Television Commercials, et al, to create awareness - including public toilets.
2.3 Field visits by engaging communities and experts such as Doctors to improve awareness on Menstrual Education.
3. Government policies :
3.1 Formal communication with Members of Parliament in documented writing through electronic mail, request debates in Parliament through necessary procedures to review as well as ensure proper Audit/Audit Reports of the ongoing implementation of Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management in South Africa. Thus engage relevant stakeholders.
3.2 Request for National Treasury to reduce any form of wasteful expenditure elsewhere within the fiscal budget and continue to make a systemic reasonably determinable percentage commitment of South Africa's overall budget expenditure towards Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management.
3.3 Propose Tax incentives for corporate, small businesses and other entities who get involved in the provision as well as distribution of feminine products ( Feminine Hygiene Tax Incentive Scheme).
3.4 Menstrual Health and Hygiene Leave days to be absorbed into Labor Policies.
3.5 The provision and monitoring of sanitary product waste disposal management, secure and flushing toilets as well as access to clean water thus eradicating pit latrines.
We cannot continue to allow lack of access to dignity keep our girls out of school and women to miss out on career advancement opportunities.
Young girls and women in South Africa need the Menstrual Health and Hygiene Bill now more than ever, urge the South African Government together with Members of Parliament to pass the Menstrual Health and Hygiene Bill by making it a reality.
Let's use our collective voices and eradicate period poverty in South Africa.
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