The conservative government made the announcement as the world celebrated the second annual International Menstruation Day.
The Canadian federal government confirmed Thursday that feminine hygiene products like tampons, sanitary towels and menstrual cups will not be taxed anymore beginning July 1 following an intense campaign called “No Tax on Tampons” launched earlier this year.
The petition’s author, Jill Piebiak, slammed the Canadian government for labeling menstrual hygiene products as a “nonessential item” or a “luxury good” — especially since many other products, like cake decorations and contact lenses, had already been excluded from the “Goods and Services” tax (GST).
“We all know that buying tampons, pads, moon/diva cups, or panty liners is not optional. These products are an essential part of a normal, public life for people with periods,” Piebiak wrote, concluding that “our government makes money off of our bodies.”
In 2014, the 5 percent tax on tampons, sanitary towels and menstrual cups have yielded around $36,000 for the government, according to Statistics Canada.
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The mobilization around the issue in Canada has been part of a global movement that denounced the sexist stigmatization of menstruation topics. Other parts of the world like Australia, the U.K., Malaysia, and the U.S. state of New York are also on the verge of repealing such sales tax on feminine hygiene products, while many other places around teh world have not yet shown any intention to change.
Women rights groups have argued this issue was of basic human rights, insisting on the importance of making such products available to women in the world. For instance, underpriviledged women who cannot afford these products are sometimes forced to use old rags, while girls in developing countries are forced to miss class each month when they’re on their period, thus negatively affecting their education.