Don’t Tax My Neccessity

Posted by Kumari Bhawna in #IAmNotDown
May 21, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

This story is a part of Youth Ki Awaaz’s campaign #IAmNotDown to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene and start a conversation on how sanitary pads can be made more affordable. If you have an opinion on how we can improve access to menstrual hygiene products, write to us here.

Women don’t enjoy the “luxury” of saying no to periods then how can sanitary napkins be a “luxury product?” Menstruation is a cycle which gives power to a woman to put life in a body. India stands 2nd in the world’s most populated country and one-half of its population menstruates every single month. It is natural, nothing shameful, nothing luxurious. The lining of uterus (womb) sheds out with blood when she is not pregnant. These are the days when she needs sanitary napkins or tampons.

23% Indian girls leave school after starting their menstrual cycle. To tackle the periods is not easy for them. 88% women, in this 21st century, still use primitive ways of personal hygiene. They use rags, cloth, leaves newspaper and even ash to deal with the period blood. An important reason is not everyone has access to sanitary napkins. Another reason is in our developing country where every family does not eat food before going to bed and where a girl is seen no less than a burden, spending money on this necessary commodity seems like a luxury. Using rags, cloth, leaves lead to infections, infertility and could also cause cervical cancer. It is unfortunate that 27% of the world’s cervical deaths occur in India. We live in a country where we have Kamrupa Kamakhya temple where it is said that the yoni (vagina) of Maa Sati fell, but in the same land a girl has to pay tax on pads or where she is not even able to use pads.

The essence of being a woman lies in the fact that she can give birth. The essence of giving birth lies in the fact that she has to menstruate and maintain hygiene. Kumkum, Bindi, Alta, Sindur and Mehendi are tax-free. Don’t tax my periods. Sanitary napkins should be made tax free and accessible. It is disappointing that when a girl is buying sanitary napkins, another girl in some other part of the country is using rags. They must be accessible to all so that another little girl does not leave school; so that another woman does not die at the hands of cervical cancer.

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