#BecauseWeBleed, a vehicle towards menstrual inequity

Though menstrual inequity is one of the most prevalent social health issues to be gaining traction in the current international landscape, a lot of times the economic realities of this very pressing health crisis are suffocated by the urgent call for human rights. As we, an organization attempt to alter the adverse consequences of menstrual inequity that plagues all human beings, we find it important to impress upon our readers the concept that economic and social freedoms are contingent upon one and other rather than separate structural entities. More than the acceptance of the inherent socio-economic relationship that occurs within the realm of menstrual inequity is the fact that due to the strong economic health of the United States (and other Western countries) many people overlook the progress we still desperately need to make domestically.

    Tying in current events internationally, the victory in South Africa regarding the abolition of the tax on menstrual products is one in which the westernized nations need to look to as a role model for the progress that still must be made to establish the global North as a genuine supporter of inclusive menstrual rights. Utilizing resources such as social media, the electorate in South Africa called on the government to eradicate these slanted taxes with the circulation of #BecauseWeBleed and were ostensibly successful in their purpose as the Finance Minister announced the end of the tax at the end of last week. Despite the fact that Oregon doesn’t tax products such as tampons and pads, many other states tax these products heavily, creating a cyclic process in which impoverished people are denied these products and thus not able to maintain basic levels of health/education.

Beyond the narrowed focus of the menstrual inequity policy progression in South Africa, the more general call to action that we need to make to further the revolution domestically is by first accepting that “developing” countries (though economically inferior to some Western countries) have much to teach us in the means to reaching global menstrual equity. Moreover, the linkage between economic disparity and this social crisis needs to be heightened in the conversation surrounding the inequity as most of the resolution rests on gaining visibility for the way in which poverty directly impacts menstrual inequity.


If you wish to read more on this topic, there are a few resources below:


“Menstrual products will now be tax-free in South Africa”

https://www.one.org/international/blog/menstrual-products-tax-free-south-africa/amp/


“Teenagers protest to force SARS to remove tax from sanitary products”

https://northeasterntribune.co.za/222451/a-call-for-sanitary-products-to-be-formally-acknowledged-as-basic-necessities/?repeat=w3tc


Alona Arneson