This union notes:
Sanitary items are taxed at 5%, which means they are taxed as luxury items.
Access to sanitary items strongly correlates with health.(1)
Women, on average, spend £156 annually on menstrual products such as tampons.(2)
Items such as men’s razors, Jaffa cakes and even crocodile meat is taxed at 0%. (3)
Menstruation is, for many women, is a normal and healthy part of their month.
This union believes:
The tax of sanitary items as ‘luxury goods’ is a tax on menstruation and so is essentially a tax on women. This means tax on menstruation products perpetuates entrenched and instutionalised systematic disadvantaging of women.
Therefore, the taxation on sanitary items directly challenges FXU’s equal opportunity policy, which seeks to “enable all members to have equal opportunities and  to protect the rights and opportunities of its members.” (4) We believe the inequality stemming
from taxation enables gender inequality and therefore places serious limitations on both student experience and opportunity in several ways, including:
- Monetary disadvantage
- Through reinforcing the stigma attached to menstruation and the related negative ramifications on self-esteem, confidence and mental wellbeing. (5)
- Hampering hygienic menstruation practices and therefore the health of menstruating women.
Therefore, for the reasons laid out above this union believes taxing menstruation items is discriminatory and so coincides with FXU’s commitment to “challenging and removing discrimination and barriers” (4) laid out in the equal opportunities policy and should
be supported as policy.
This union resolves:
FXU absorbs the luxury tax on sanitary items sold on campus, including but not limited to the campus shop. This can be achieved by setting aside a portion of the FXU budget and compensating services like FX plus who run the campus shop for selling menstruation
items without the 5% tax imposed.
Support the motion to stop taxing menstrual products at NUS conferences and other platforms.
(1) Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management, (2013). Menstrual Hygiene Management. [online] SSWM Toolbox. Available at: http://www.sswm.info/content/menstrual-hygiene-management [Accessed 7 Oct. 2015].
(2) Moss, R. (2015). Women Spend More Than £18,000 On Having Periods In Their Lifetime, Study Reveals. Huffington Post. [online] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/09/03/women-spend-thousands-on-periods-tampon-tax_n_8082526.html [Accessed 7
(3) Bloody Disgrace, (2015). It's a #BloodyDisgrace - Let's Stop Tampon Tax. [online] Bloodydisgrace.org. Available at: http://www.bloodydisgrace.org [Accessed 7 Oct. 2015].
(4) FXU, (2013), Equal Opportunities Policy. Available at: http://www.fxu.org.uk/about/policies/ [Accessed 7 Oct. 2015].
(5) Johnston-Robledo, I. and Chrisler, J. (2011). The Menstrual Mark: Menstruation as Social Stigma. Sex Roles, 68(1-2), pp.9-18.