In Italy, the number of people experiencing economic vulnerability tripled between the years 2005 and 2021, increasing from 1.9 to 5.6 million people – which is equivalent to 10% of the total population. In such a context, it is easy to imagine the difficulties faced by the poorest women in the Italian peninsula who have to purchase, every month, the personal sanitary products they need.
The price of these products in supermarkets generally ranges from 1.5 to 6 euros per item, depending on quality, the number of pads per box, and the brand. These products are limited to traditional cellulose-based sanitary pads and tampons.
In 2022, the Italian government took valuable action and reduced the so-called tampon tax from 10% to 5%, and the current government is now proposing to go back to the original 10% tax rate.
In Italy there are over 21 Million people who menstruate, and each of them uses about 12.000 single use pads or tampons - as these are the only products available in big retailers. This translates into hundreds of euros spent every year for a biological function, which in many countries is free.
Having a high band tax rate on personal hygiene products such as period care products means linking them to luxury goods - like truffles or designer clothes - rather than primary needs. It is a matter of social justice and period shame.
This tax increase will also interest products for children such as formula and diapers, making motherhood much more expensive than it already is.
What is Tampon Tax
Tampon tax is the tax on period care products. Originally it was 22% of the overall price, and in the last years it decreased to 10% and now 5%. Keep in mind that on primary needs like water and milk it is 4%.
Why this regression
Based on the observation of period products availability and overall prices, the right-winged Italian government stated that although taxes were cut on period products, the prices didn’t decrease.
This might be due to the companies who decided to raise their prices, taking advantage of the lower tax rate and maximising their profits.
What to do next
Although there aren’t many retailers in Italy where you can purchase reusable alternatives to period products (only in Carrefour you can find period underwear), you can always find menstrual cups and period underwear online.
If you’re not sure how to use a cup or you don’t know which size is best for you, take a look at our quick starter guide: How to use a menstrual cup
If you’re not ready for the big step, you can always start from period underwear. Our new line of period panties is 100% vegan and made of high quality materials that will last a lifetime. Each pant is the equivalent to 3 tampons or pads. Take a look at our collection!
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