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Sanitary wear: Activists push for free provision

Gender activists have welcomed government’s move to scrap duty on sanitary wear but say more needs to be done to ensure access to sanitary wear.

This comes at a time when Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube announced, yesterday at a pre-budget seminar in Bulawayo that government would be scrapping off duty on sanitary wear.

In an interview with CITE, Theresa Nyava Sanitary Aid Zimbabwe Executive Director said removing duty on sanitary wear will reduce the cost of sanitary wear.

“The scrapping of these Pink Taxes will reduce the price of sanitary wear and improve access to more women,” said Nyava.

“However it should be noted that removing taxes is not an end in itself, but it is just a means to an end because there are still many disadvantaged women and girls out there who do not even have money to buy pads”.

Nyava said reducing the price of pads is not beneficial to women and girls who cannot afford to buy them in the first place.

“The removal of taxes on menstrual products should be also matched with the creation of a fund to distribute free pads to the disadvantaged,” said Nyava.

“Imagine the homeless girls living in the streets, who can barely afford to buy food, sanitary wear is actually a luxury to them. They also need medication to deal with period pain.”

Luyanda Uthando Children’s Foundation Founder, Precious Mpofu said more can be done to ensure women and girls who are less fortunate can access sanitary wear.

“Sanitary pads should not be for sale in the first place, some of the less privileged girls use old towels which is unhygienic and unhealthy for them,” said Mpofu.

Women Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) Public Relations Officer, Bridgette Ndlovu said WILD awaits for the government to distribute free sanitary wear in schools.

“After years of using rags and stockings as alternatives to sanitary ware, and contraceptives to avoid their periods, the girl child finally gets a policy framework that addresses her biological and gender needs,” said Ndlovu.

MDC-T Bulawayo legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the move by the government is a step in the right direction as civic society will be able to afford distributing sanitary wear to the girl child.

“Its good news in that those NGO’s willing to assist can now afford to do so, even government can set aside an amount dedicated to providing free sanitary wear for girls,” she said.

 

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