LIFESTYLE

Tampon Tax Protest Outside Parliament Sees Three Women Wearing White Trousers On Their Period

07/11/2015 18:30 GMT | Updated 08/11/2015 08:59 GMT

Three tampon tax protestors made a strong statement outside Parliament on Saturday, donning white trousers and forgoing sanitary products while on their periods.

CONTENT WARNING: BLOOD.Today i am forgoing tampons and pads outside the houses of parliament to show how 'luxury'...

Posted by Charlie Edge on Friday, November 6, 2015

Charlie Edge and Ruth Howarth formed a small but striking demonstration to highlight the government's refusal to class sanitary towels as essential.

They wrote: "We're getting lots of dirty looks and someone just shouted at us to get a job. But everyone keeps saying 'haha omg how quickly would we get free tampons if everyone stopped wearing them?!'"

They later posted an update.

My responses to all the negative feedback I've had so far:1. “Three girls outside parliament with blood stains isn’t...

Posted by Charlie Edge on Saturday, November 7, 2015

Currently, tampons are subject to EU tax, meaning that women are charged a government fee to purchase them, on top of the costs incurred by retailers, topped up by profit margins.

Sanitary products are still classed as a "luxury item" despite the fact other products avoid the tax, such as Jaffa Cakes and razors.

charlie

Charlie and her dog Alfie

Research suggests that some women fork out up to £18,450 across their lifetime to purchase products used for periods.

On Monday the government narrowly won a vote by 305 to 287 to block an outright call for removing the 5 percent levy but did concede to raise the issue with EU leaders.

That is unlikely to result in much though as the agreement of all 28 EU member states is required to remove the tax.

Stella Creasy won many plaudits for an eloquent, funny but deadly-serious speech on the issue.

"Tampons and sanitary towels, even I'm struggling with the words tonight it seems, have always been considered a luxury. That isn't by accident, that's by design of an unequal society, in which the concerns of women are not treated as equally as the concerns of men," she began.

Creasy continued: "Jaffa Cakes are zero rated, now I am not a fan of Jaffa Cakes, let it be known. If you offer me a Jaffa Cake I will refuse, but I do not consider them to be essential to my life. I can give or take them.

"I recognise that razors are [also] zero rated, judging by some of the members opposite, the opportunity to shave everyday is for many of them a human right. They are cleanly shaven, I'm sure they would be concerned to be charged in that way. So too perhaps one we can all agree on, as a necessity.

Russell Howard also tackled the issue in his BBC Three show.

He said: “They’re tampons, they’re not Ferrero Rocher.

He continued: “Do you know the absurd thing, you pay VAT on tampons because they’re a ‘luxury’ but you don’t pay VAT on things that are considered ‘essential’.

“Well here is a list of some of the things that the taxman thinks is essential more than tampons: helicopters, bingo, Twiglets, adult nappies, flapjacks, toffee apples, edible cake decorations, a ticket to the zoo and crocodile meat.”