The price of sanitary pads

You may remember the media episode of the "pink tax" which unleashed passions in 2015. Following this, the VAT rate for essential feminine hygiene products, hitherto taxed as much as products luxury, fell from 20 to 5.5%. However, the price of periodic protection continues to be debated in France and around the world.

What is the “pink tax” again?

The term “pink tax” was coined to refer to the price difference between hygiene products intended for women and those intended for men. Many collectives and associations have denounced the fact that distributors offered higher prices in the women's department: razors, shaving foam, deodorants, etc.

The price of the laundry and the hairdresser were also the subject of strong criticism. The maintenance of women's blouses is systematically more expensive than that of men's shirts. Ditto with hairdressers: for a woman with short hair, the price of a shampoo and a haircut is about 50% higher than for a man. However, in both cases, the working time is the same.

While it can be difficult to ask a dry cleaner to align their prices consistently, it is however possible to act on gender marketing by simply ignoring the choices they are trying to impose on us. After all, if men's razors are cheaper, why buy pink ones? We must never lose sight of the fact that consumers have enormous power through their purchases. Each of them is a real message sent to the manufacturing company and its marketing departments.

A 0% VAT for hygienic protections?

The debate on menstrual poverty was recently revived by a young homeless woman. By denouncing the lack of help concerning the management of menstruation among homeless women, she highlighted the financial difficulty experienced by a much wider population: students, single mothers or all other women struggling to make ends meet.

Today, this young woman continues her fight by demanding a total absence of VAT on periodic protection (tampons and sanitary napkins), first in France, then throughout Europe. It shows as an example some countries that have already taken the decision successfully: Nigeria, Kenya, Canada and Australia. Let us remember all the same that France is not the worst off either. In Germany, the VAT amounts to 19% for these products, and in Hungary, it reaches 27%!

But would that be enough? Indeed, during the VAT reduction in 2015, we saw that many brands of sanitary protection had little or no reduction in price. Consumers were therefore unable to really benefit from this new legislation, which was seen as a gift to the companies concerned, which simply increased their margins. If non-taxation is finally obtained, many checks will have to be carried out to verify its application.

We naturally ask ourselves another question in this regard: why are reusable protections such as menstrual panties , cups or washable pads still taxed at 20%? However, these products have exactly the same purpose as disposable tampons and sanitary napkins: to allow women to protect themselves during their menstruation. It is also a healthy, ecological and economical alternative in the long term. Why does the legislation not promote its access and development?

By Emily