Sweden's Left Party calls for free tampons and pads for under-20-year-olds

TT/The Local
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Sweden's Left Party calls for free tampons and pads for under-20-year-olds

Sweden's Left Party on Thursday called for free menstrual hygiene products for all girls and women under 20 years old.


The party estimates that the cost of the project would be around 300 million kronor (approximately $32 million) to subsidize the products, which according to its calculations cost women around 500 kronor each per year.

"Young people should not feel that there is a taboo around periods. Nor should periods be a question of social class," the party wrote in a statement setting out the plan.

"This is an investment for all young women. No-one should need to take money from their student grant for menstrual hygiene products and no-one should feel that they have to go home from school if they get their period," the party's deputy spokesperson Nooshi Dadgostar said.

Under the Left Party's proposal, products including tampons and sanitary towels would be made available for free in health centres and schools, for example through school nurses or in school toilets, across the country. 

Some Swedish schools and municipalities have already introduced similar policies. A school in Norrköping in February began offering free menstrual hygiene products after the policy was brought into some schools in Uppsala some years ago. The products are also available for free at health care centres and schools in Österåker municipality, for all girls and women between the ages of 12 and 23.

Further afield, the party cited New York in the US as an inspiration, where free tampons are offered in schools, shelters, and prisons.

Several other US states have passed laws to provide free period products in school toilets, while others have removed the Value Added Tax (VAT) from the products.

The so-called 'tampon tax', described by many campaigners as discriminatory, has been scrapped in Canada in 2015 and in India and Australia this year, with campaigns active in several European countries to encourage them to follow suit

Members of the British Medical Association this June voted to lobby the British government to provide sanitary products to all in need, and also to ensure that all hospital inpatients are provided with them for free whenever necessary.




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