It was only at the beginning of this year, January 7 to be precise, that the Australian Tax Office announced that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) had been removed from ‘most menstrual products’. That’s right – it took 18 years of campaigning to recognise that it was absolutely unreasonable to tax such an essential item as tampons and sanitary pads. Perhaps they had just been expecting us to stay constantly pregnant and therefore it was only the irresponsible of us who would be so outrageous as to actually bleed monthly!
But bleed regularly we do and unless the powers that be expect women to drip their way around the streets, to work and on the school run, then we can only consider sanitary products as ‘essential’. But they are still expensive and for many women these can be difficult to afford. That’s where you can help. Share the Dignity is running a drive running throughout August that encourages people to purchase and donate sanitary products for women who are struggling to afford them.
‘So many women, every month, have to forfeit sanitary products because they cannot afford them. Many mothers have to choose between buying sanitary items and feeding their children,’ said Rochelle Courtenay, founder of Share the Dignity.
There are 3.2 million Australians currently living below the poverty line and 52 per cent of these are women. Recognising this local volunteer Wendy Pluckrose has joined the drive and is coordinating a number of donation boxes throughout the north coast.
‘It broke my heart to learn women out there were going without basic needs including sanitary items and knew I had to help to share the dignity and love. I knew in my heart going without was not an option so there was no hesitation to join as a volunteer (Shero/hero). It’s a nationwide issue and with people volunteering for a few hours a month it can make such a difference,’ said Wendy.
Donation boxes are located at a range of places including Byron Community Centre, Skin Divinity in Byron Bay, Chempro Chemists, Woolworths, and many other locations. To find a location near you look online at Share the Dignity.