This article was originally published on The Daily Vox.
If you happen to own a uterus or have ever been shopping for someone who does, then you’ve no doubt noticed how ridiculously expensive pads and tampons actually are. These are crucial products that many people depend on at least once a month but, thanks to what is known as the tampon tax, are priced through the roof.
In South Africa, it is estimated that around 7 million girls miss school each month because of menstruation.
Writing in 2011, Jen Thorpe calculated to cost of menstuation in South Africa like this: “In her lifetime, the average woman uses 11 000 tampons, or 22 sanitary products (pads or tampons per period). In South Africa with the average tampon costing about R1.50 each (yes, that means R33 a period, or R16 500 in her lifetime) and a pack of 10 sanitary pads costing R18 (which translates to about R36 a period, or R19 800 in her lifetime). This means that having a period is an expense that many cannot afford. Most South Africans still live below the poverty line, which means that they must use alternative means of stemming the flow. These include using towelling or material which is rewashed. However, in some cases this too is unaffordable.”
Read the full article here.