If you reach menarche at 12 and bleed until 50 for five days each month, you will experience 456 periods, a total of 2,280 days (almost 6.5 years) bleeding throughout your lifetime. If you spend 1,000 yen each month for menstrual supplies, you will spend more than 450,000 yen in your lifetime. This does not include menstrual underwear, painkillers, and pills that are necessary when dealing with periods. Today in Japan, in addition to the 450,000 yen that a menstruator must pay for menstrual products, a 10% tax is added to the burden. This means that menstruators must pay almost 500,000 yen in their lifetime just for having periods, while non-menstruators do not.
Especially for single-parent households, poor students, and homeless people, this burden is unbearable. It is clear that this financial burden for menstrual products is much more significant than newspapers, which is currently sold with a reduced tax rate. As a student myself, I hear my friends lament how it is sad to see their hard-earned money disappearing to menstrual products. Menstruators should not have to pay more just because they bleed.
Today, the "tampon tax" is being lifted in many countries around the world. Kenya lead the way in 2004, followed by Canada, Malaysia, India, Australia, and more. These movements were successful because of the powerful voices of women and menstruators that do not necessarily identify as women. We also have the voice to cause social change!
Menstrual products are not luxury items. It is a necessity for menstruators to learn, work, live, and chase their dreams in society. A society that burdens those born with a uterus is an inequal society.
The Abe administration places "a society where all women will shine" as their top priority, but if women have to pay a great amount of money for menstrual products while only making 70% of their male counterparts, women will not "shine" in society. It is essential that menstruators are free of the economic burden of menstruation and are able to go out comfortably even when on their period for every person to "shine" in society. To achieve gender equality, we are urging the government to reduce the tax rate for menstrual products from 10% to at least 8%.
This campaign is for future menstruators. This campaign is for those who are forced to choose between their food and menstrual products. This campaign is for those that cannot express their need for menstrual products. This campaign is for you, and for some menstruator close to you.
Menstruator or not, every single person should be able to be what they want to be and chase their ambitions. To make this a reality, it is time to talk about #periods! Sign this petition and please share it with your friends and family to let the government know that we are not okay being taxed for our monthly flow!
image taken from freeperiods.org, design by Alice Skinner.