As marie claire joins the fight against 'tampon tax', campaigner Laura Coryton gives us the update on France's groundbreaking vote last week
France made history on Friday! For the first time ever, the French National Assembly tackled the period taboo by reducing tampon tax from 20% to 5.5%. Congratulations to all the tireless French activists and campaigners who have relentlessly pushed for this to be changed.
While this tax reduction will benefit millions across France by widening the accessibility of a vital health product (and shows that our voices are being heard across the channel), Georgette Sands, (the feminist group who run our French sister campaign) have explained that the fight is far from over.
And neither is ours here in the UK.
Tampon tax still exists. So long as it does, females will continue to be alienated and marginalised. A 5.5% tax on sanitary products is still 5.5% too high. We won’t stop campaigning until tampon tax is axed, and the voices of women are truly recognised. Period.
France’s willingness to oppose female alienation and end tampon tax has significantly strengthened our chances of winning over the European Union (the regulating body of continental taxation) and axing sanitary tax across the continent. Sadly, since 2001 tampon tax has become an EU matter, and not one directly controlled by Westminster. And although there is a new bill going through the Union at the moment which would restore taxation sovereignty to individual states (and with it, our ability to axe sanitary tax), we have a long way to go before it passes.
Until it does, we have our sights set on the EU. To win them over, we need to gain the support not only of individual European governing parties, but of the Union as a whole. In order to do this, we need to keep pressuring the Union as well as George Osborne and make this a matter close to their hearts.
So far we have axed tampon tax in Canada, reduced sanitary tax in France and have gained the support of over 400,000 people across all 6 of our petitions.
Not only this, but we have also secured free access to sanitary products at several universities, rumbled major political figured including David Cameron, and changed history here in the UK by forcing Osborne into donating all of the revenue he collects from tampons to charity.
We are definitely winning this battle, but we need to keep protesting, talking and sharing to ensure success and the end of sanitary tax forever.
Stay tuned for more updates!