The Tampon Tax

Illustration by Erin Lux

The tampon tax has become an on-going discussing topic. Support to repeal this tax has increased in the last years, with activists arguing that menstrual hygiene products should be classified as tax-exempt necessities, alongside other items such as food, tap water and medicine. This issue pertains to gender equality, affordability and women’s health. While the large majority of the countries around the world still tax menstrual hygiene products as non-essential goods, some countries are starting to lift or reduce the tax. In 2004, Kenya became a trailblazer when it was the first country in the world to repeal the tampon tax. Listen to this podcast to learn more on the topic, by discovering both sides of the argument, and understanding the implications following an amendment of the tax.


Podcast Jingles: own production on GarageBand by author (May Guan)

Illustration: Lux, E. (2018, December 4). Tampon Tax Is Just Another Example of Women’s Inequality. Retrieved from Harper’s Bazaar: Link


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Crawford, B. J. and Gold Waldman, E. (2019). The Unconstitutional Tampon Tax. Retrieved from Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications 53 U. Rich. L. Rev. 439: Link

The Federal Assembly – The Swiss Parliament. (2018, December 12). Reduzierter Mehrwertsteuersatz für Damenhygieneartikel . Retrieved from Curia Vista – Database of parliamentary proceedings: Link

Frost, N. (2021, February 18). New Zealand to Roll Out Free Period Products to All Students. Retrieved from The New York Times: Link

Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft. (2018, February 2). Steuersätze ab 01.01.2018 . Retrieved from Eidgenössische Steuerverwaltung: Link

Statista. (2020, May 28). Where the “Tampon Tax” is Highest and Lowest in Europe . Retrieved from Statista: Link

Statista. (2020, May 28). Women Pay High Tax Rates for Period Supplies. Retrieved from Statista: Link

Welham, B. (2020). Taxes and Duties for sanitary products in Africa. Retrieved from Work and
Opportunities for Women (WOW) Helpdesk: Link