The high cost of sanitary clothing undermines women’s rights

The cost of sanitary clothing undermines women’s rights

BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
GENDER activists have expressed concern over the prohibitive cost of sanitary garments, saying they compromise women’s sexual and reproductive health rights.

With galloping inflation, the prices of basic necessities and services exploding, hygiene clothing has not been spared.

A pack of 10 sanitary napkins costs between US$1.50 and US$2 and on average women use two to three packs per month depending on the individual flow.

Debra Mwase, Katswe Sistahood program manager, said the government should subsidize sanitary clothing.

“We are deeply concerned about the cost of living and the impact it will have on marginalized women and girls. We hope that the government can assess whether the tax relief on the import of raw materials used in the production of sanitary garments reaches the consumer. The government should uphold its commitment to provide hygienic clothing to girls in schools as per the provisions of the Education Amendment Act,” Mwase said.

Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda, women’s rights activist, said: “We need clear policy and implementation. The government has abolished the tax on sanitary clothes, but we need more effort. Zimbabwe grows cotton, we have to think long term, we have to produce our own clean hygienic clothes, and we don’t want recycled clothes.

Although there are no customs duties on the import of women’s sanitary apparel, when the pads arrive in the country, many women can hardly afford them due to their low incomes.

Birth control pills and condoms are however free at local government clinics and hospitals.

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