Pandemic increases menstrual poverty

by Deborah Cater
Menstrual poverty has increased during the pandemic

It is called menstrual poverty when women do not have enough money to purchase necessary products for their monthly period. Although many women in third world countries face this problem, it is also a problem in Spain.

500 million women around the world, of which as many as one in five are in the European Union, cannot afford menstrual products, the Spanish news site La Sexta reported last Sunday. Menstrual poverty also exists in Spain and the corona pandemic has increased this problem over the last year and a half.

One in five women in Europe cannot afford menstrual products

A woman uses an average of 14,000 menstrual products such as tampons, sanitary towels and cups throughout her life and spends about €4,500 on this. Although this money is spread over the time from puberty to menopause, many women cannot afford it.

It is not only annoying when women do not have sufficient resources to cope with menstruation. It also means many of these girls and women have to miss school a week a month or call in sick for work when they have their periods.

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Spain does not see menstrual products as a necessity

Spain does not seem to regard these products as necessary. For example, according to various organisations, Spain taxes these products with 10% VAT. This while other products, such as Viagra, attract the lower VAT rate of 4% in Spain.

Lavidaenroja.org is one of the associations in Spain committed to ensuring that all women have access to these basic products. They therefore argue for a VAT reduction to 4% for these articles. In addition, the organisation believes these products should even become free for women from certain target groups.

Sports tickets and menstrual products attract same VAT

Another Spanish organisation, called Cromosomos X, wants to remove the inequality between men and women. This organisation promotes reusable menstrual products that allow women to save between €18 and €119 per person per year.

Many organisations denounce the fact the governmnet does not see these products as a necessity. By way of comparison, an entrance ticket to attend sports events is subject to the same amount of VAT as menstrual products.

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