EDITORIAL: Sanitary pads should be a basic human right

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) activists are running all the way to the bank since women will now be able to save 18 per cent on the price of sanitary pads.

This follows an announcement by the government that it was scrapping Value Added Tax (VAT) which is calculated at 18 per cent.

It is a small victory but a victory all the same, though the activists would have preferred to see far more-reaching changes such as scrapping taxes all together.

The issue of sanitary pads has been dominating gender issues for some time now, especially for poor rural school girls who have to skip school during their periods.

Some schools have gone the extra miles to make girls more comfortable by having designated rooms where the girls can have the privacy and dignity to deal with their menstrual issues, but they could go a notch higher by availing sanitary pads in those rooms.

That argument can be understood easier if access to sanitary pads would be regarded as a basic human right. It could then be easier for the government to seek sources to finance their subsidies.

It could begin by imposing more taxes on things such as cosmetics and other vanity items that make more to damage the pocket than having any lasting impressions.

It is no secret that urban women spend more on beauty products than their male or rural counterparts, why not contribute to easing their young, poor, rural women’s menstrual cycles?

If the benefits could be clearly explained, there is much reason to believe that the idea would be favourably received.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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