Yesterday, social media exploded upon learning female sanitary pads have been declared cosmetic items, thereby possibly subjecting to 30% taxation.
According to Thai PBS, the Thai Food & Drug Administration (FDA) then explained that sanitary pads have always been classified as cosmetics due to technical reasons involving their usage. Still, the tax was and will remain at 7%.
So yes, Thailand can still buy sanitary pads at between 50 to over a hundred baht per box, depending on the brand. (Until the Thai patriarchy decides otherwise.)
But here’s a thought: Sanitary pads should be tax-free.
We can look to California, where diapers and feminine hygiene products are tax-free. Or, here’s India.
According to a 22 July 2018 article by Asmita Joshi, published in Global Citizen, in 2016, the group “SheSays India,” founded by social activist Trisha Shetty, launched a campaign for tax-free sanitary pads.
Under India’s 2017 Goods and Services Tax (GST), the tax on sanitary pads was 12%. However, due to social pressures, by July 2018, India lifted the tax.
The achievement was made by many, such as lawmaker Sushmita Dev, who gathered over four million signatures to demand tax-free menstrual products.
Here are two quotes by social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham, who invented a low-cost sanitary pad-making machine. In addition, he educates rural India on traditional unhygienic practices around menstruation.
“You can send women to the moon or mars later. First, provide sanitary pads to them.”
“My plea is that don’t wait for a girl to become a woman to empower them. Empower a girl’s life by giving sanitary pads to them. With pads, we give them wings.”
Why does Thisrupt choose to quote a man rather than countless women who fight for women’s rights?
The Civil Rights movement is strengthened when whites join blacks and other groups.
The LGBTQ+ movement is strengthened when all genders, including straight men and women, join hands.
The right to tax-free sanitary pads will become reality if Thai men get off our patriarchy pedestal stool and join our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters to fight for gender equality.