To the members of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
We would like to bring to your attention that menstrual hygiene products are defined as non-essential goods by numerous governments around the world.
And, as a result, they’re exposed to unfair and unnecessary tax, payable by the consumer.
We need your help and action to globally redefine these items as essential, thereby eradicating the subsequent “luxury” tax levied on them.
While we understand this change may seem of minor importance, we respectfully highlight the potential impact it would encompass, particularly in availing these products for the world’s most impoverished and unprivileged women.
We believe the change in definition of menstrual hygiene products has a rightful place under the jurisdiction of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (particularly Articles 2, 3 and 12) and the UN Millennium Development Goal - “Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women” (MDG3).
The UNDP recognised that the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) need to have greater impact on inequity. So this is the time to champion your statement: “Equality for women means progress for all”
For women and girls worldwide, the right to a functional and fulfilled working and personal life is out of reach without proper menstrual and hygiene products. Excluding them from school, work and their roles in society.
We also urge you to consider this is not just a gender equality issue and it should also be included as a target for SDGs relating to health.
Deeming menstrual hygiene products as essential items, as opposed to “luxury” ones, is a starting point to address related issues, such as menstrual taboos and “period shame”, which still cause millions to live in discomfort and, in their most severe cases, can lead to disease and even death.
Excluding these items from unfair taxation would make them available to a wider demographic, which will substantially improve feminine health worldwide. And, by extension, contribute to better global public health.
The commitment of all nations to this subject is imperative for an inclusive and equal society; one in which we acknowledge and take into consideration male and female needs and biological differences and not discredit one in favour of the other.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this petition.
- High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Executive Director of UN Women
Stop Tampon Tax
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