GEM supports calls for tax-free sanitary pads

Girls Excellence Movement
  • as it marks Menstrual Hygiene Day with Korle Gonno Cluster of Schools

Girls Excellence Movement (GEM), a non-profit youth organisation that seeks to build the capacity of girls, has thrown its weight behind calls for the removal of taxes on menstrual products.

Citing a study it conducted from 2019 – 2021 titled ‘Sheltered Yet Exposed’, which sought to explore and highlight the underlying challenges affecting girls’ education in the country, it said taxes make the essential commodity expensive and unaffordable for girls in deprived communities.

The findings revealed that 62.5 percent of 2,000 girls across 15 schools located within four regions – Greater Accra, Volta, Central and Eastern – reported having financial difficulties, thereby affecting their ability to afford basic necessities including sanitary pads and others; which further exposes them to various forms of exploitation.

At the Korle Gonno Cluster of schools where the group marked Menstrual Hygiene Day, the founder of GEM, Juliana Ama Kplorfia, called on government to pay attention to demands for the removal of taxes on sanitary pads as it is crucial for the girl-child’s wellbeing.

“We have heard a lot of stories about girls struggling to afford sanitary pads, and sometimes about usage and proper management. There are gaps in that knowledge and we are here to fill them.

“We are taking this opportunity to call on government to take off the taxes because they make the commodity unaffordable. The pads are essential for every girl’s development because menstruation is a normal part of female’s biology, so they cannot choose to menstruate or not; and that is why the commodity needs to be affordable to keep the girls clean, comfortable and confident in class,” she noted.

Beyond marking the Day with the girls and educating them on related topics, the group gave out sanitary pads and also encouraged them to dream beyond their immediate environment.

Some of topics included sexual consent, menstrual hygiene, having vision-board, peer-pressure, building self-confidence, positive thinking, surviving on social media, peer-learning, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

A senior mentor with GEM Edem Adzo Dzebu, urged parents to develop friendships with their children.

“In as much as you want to play your part and be in control over your children, try to be their friends so they can talk to you. Children are compelled to talk to their pals and receive bad advice from them. Parents need to start listening to their wards,” she said.

The outreach is in line with GEM’s Inspiration on Wheels initiative.

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