|Red on White, the documentary about menstruation|
It may seem strange but in Italy it is a field of debate an exclusively female reality: menstruation. Yes, because here it is considered a privilege.
They started to talk about it in 2017 when it was pointed out that there are products with a very high VAT tax, goods that are not considered primary but instead they are.
Absorbents are essential in those days, but they are much more expensive than they could be with lower VAT than now applied.
The sanitary napkins are expensive because there is an applied VAT base as if they were luxury goods, a DVD for example and think instead that the shaving foam is considered a good of first necessity and is therefore taxed with a lower rate that makes the final price at acceptable consumption. This different gender approach compared to some commercial products, the so-called "Pink Tax", has been taken up over the years here and there by TV and other media but never as striking as it deserves given the disparity it creates.
These days however the question of the so-called "Tampon Tax" has arrived in Parliament to be addressed. Filed in 2016 the "tampon tax" which highlighted the need to apply the primary good rate of 4% and no more than 22% of VAT to sanitary napkins, was discussed only in these days but with a negative outcome because there are no funds to support the lowering of the tax and moreover, it seems almost a joke, it has been emphasized and reminded to women that this practice, the use of disposable sanitary napkins, pollutes the environment!
There have obviously been many reactions to these statements, issued in a television interview by a member of the largest party now in government, and to the lack of consideration of the female body to which "natural" claims are attributed, and this is indeed, but not evidently enough to be considered basic needs.
The best answers, however, are coming from civil society with initiatives like that of an Umbrian pharmacy that has decided to apply a 22% discount on the brands of sanitary napkins for sale or from various installations appeared in the bathrooms of some Roman universities that invite to leave a towel for those in necessity and need it, a sort of "suspended towel" like coffee in Naples, designed by a collective created by five girls "Our Stuff (Le Cose Nostre)" or even from a documentary about menstruation wanted to educate girls and boys in schools on this topic.
Red on White is the name of the documentary film and is now looking for funds to complete post-production and then be presented in schools and made available to those who with knowledge and education will want to contribute to change the perception of the body of women that is still evidently considered a taboo albeit luxury!
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