IT’S TIME FOR ACTION ON PERIOD TAXES!

In more and more countries around the world, individuals and organisations are raising their voices to demand the reduction or elimination of unfair taxes on menstrual products. And more and more governments are listening and taking action. This website provides an overview of past and present national campaigns and shares key lessons learned from around the world. Our goal is to support ongoing campaigns with learnings and ammunition for advocacy, and to inspire more action on the issue.


For a national campaign to be successful, it is critical to understand the different arguments for and against reducing or scrapping period taxes. While there are similarities, every country has its distinct legal, political and tax framework. Before starting a campaign, it is absolutely crucial to think through how period taxes can effectively be changed within your country’s specific settings.

case studies and campaign examples

Learn from past and present period tax campaigns from around the world!

Case Study

BANGLADESH, KENYA, NIGERIA AND SOUTH AFRICA

Advocating for Affordability. The story of menstrual hygiene product tax advocacy in four countries (Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Soth Africa). By Susan Fox, Global Health Visions

Case Study

rwanda

In November 2019, the government of Rwanda announced the removal of taxes for menstrual products, which previously had been taxed at 18%. Sanitary pads were added to a list of VAT exempt goods in a bid to ease their affordability.
Learn more about the campaign to #FreeThePeriod in our interview with key advocate Isabella Akaliza.

Case Study

tanzania

The Tanzanian government scrapped VAT on sanitary pads in July 2018, but reinstated the tax in June 2019 after it had become clear that the cost reduction didn’t pass through to consumers. There’s a lot to be learned from this campaign. Check out our conversation with Halima Lila from Hope Centre Tanzania and Priya Sippy from WaterAid Tanzania.

Campaign Example

Australia

Following years of sustained public campaigning, the Australian government finally agreed to remove the 10% goods and services tax (GST) on menstrual products starting January 2019.

Campaign Example

India

In July 2018, the Indian government removed 12% goods and services tax (GST) from sanitary pads, making them tax exempt. The Indian government previously argued that a tax exemption would not necessarily lead to a reduction of retail prices of sanitary pads, but it eventually gave in to mounting public pressure.

Campaign Example

Switzerland

While items like tap water, cat litter and flowers are taxed at a reduced VAT rate of 2.5% in Switzerland, menstrual products are subject to the standard VAT rate of 7.7%. Swiss campaigning group Campax launched a petition on Women’s Day in May 2019 to call for fairer taxation. They handed over 11,000 signatures to the government in June 2019.  The decision-making process is currently ongoing and there is not yet a final result.

Campaign Example

The tampon book

In Germany, books are subject to a reduced VAT rate of 7% applied to essential goods. Menstrual products, however, used to be taxed at the standard VAT rate of 19%. To raise awareness of the unfair taxation, the Female Company packaged their tampons inside a little Tampon Book, which they sold at 7% VAT. The idea received significant media attention and contributed to the wider campaign that resulted in the reduction of VAT on all period products in January 2020.

case studies and campaign examples

Learn from past and present period tax campaigns from around the world!

why scrap period taxes?

There are four key reasons why it’s important to campaign against unfair taxes on menstrual products:

Break the period taboo

Campaigning against period taxes helps to end period stigma

Menstrual Products Are Basic Necessities

Menstrual products are basic necessities, not luxuries

Challenge Discriminatory Laws

Period taxes are discriminatory and perpetuate gender inequality

Make Menstrual Products More Affordable

Menstrual products should be affordable for everyone

Learn more
WANT TO START YOUR OWN PERIOD TAX CAMPAIGN?

Explanatory video Series

Learn more about the topic of period taxes and campaign examples through these explanatory videos.
Click images to start the videos.

DEEP DIVE: our advocacy guide & research report

Our Advocacy Guide provides you with key insights from period tax campaigns around the world and helps you to plan and implement a period tax campaign. Our Research Report helps you understand opportunities and pitfalls when it comes to ensuring that tax reductions result in decreased retail prices of period products

get the advocacy guide
get the research report