Campaigners in Ghana have been advocating for the removal of taxes on menstrual products. While government representative has spoken in favour of removing the tax, it remains and currently stands at 12,5% VAT, and 20% for import tax. Ghana’s latest population census shows that women are 51% of the population, so there is a real opportunity to address gender equality!
Organisors: WASH United in partnership with Days for Girls Ghana Girl, Guides & Girl Scouts Association.
The objective: bring Ghanaian partners together for learning & sharing and future actions the reduction or elimination of taxes on menstrual products.
- Ina Jurga, International Coordinator MH Day, WASH United
- Naana Abenda Afadi, Program Manager, Days for Girls Ghana
- Sylvia Yirenkyi, Projects and Programmes Commissioner, & Amos Katsekpor, Projects and Programmes Manager; Ghana Girl Guides & Girl Scouts Association
- Lilipear Baaba Otoo, Founder, Bridge for Equity
The webinar started with International Coordinator Menstrual Hygiene Day Ina Jurga (WASH United), sharing some examples of successful campaigns that took part on the street and/or online for inspiration. The website www.periodtax.org provides everyone with the necessary resources to make your campaign successful: an advocacy guide, explanatory videos and a database giving you an overview on tax policies around the globe. She emphasized to keep on campaigning and shared some key pointers for discussion.
Afterwards, 3 main campaigners from Ghana shared their activities, lessons-learned and recommended next actions.
Naana Abenda Afadi, Program Manager of Days for Girls Ghana started by presenting the strategy of her organization and the actions that they took. For example, their major action is engaging with CSO’s in the WASH sector, but also by doing traditional and virtual advocacy. This work has given the organisation recognition in the field. Nevertheless, their next step is to engage parliamentarians in MHM and the Ministry of Gender and Education.
From Ghana Girl Guides & Girl Scouts Association we heard respectively from Sylvia Yirenkyi and Amos Katsekpor. The approach of the organization is advocacy, training for young girls to deconstruct taboos and period stigma in Ghana, and broad base consultations. Ghana Girl Guides & Girl Scouts Association has started the journey in 2019 to scrap period tax by launching 2 petitions. They went from 2000 signatures for the first one, to a more targeted petition towards female ministries, which lead to a recognition from the second lady’s office. Despite these wins, the organization spotted challenges and ideas to run a more successful campaign. They want to face the challenge and make MHM a priority on the government’s agenda by addressing the SDG’s, especially because the President of Ghana is Co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates for UN SDGS.
Lilipearl Baaba Otoo, Founder, Bridge for Equity presented that during her work she noticed girls not going to school because of period poverty, which pushed her to start the No Pads campaign, which has been focusing on the introduction of charcoal re-usable sanitary pads. Moreover, Bridge for Equity has been advocate for the removal of period taxes in 2019 and a petition to the Gender Ministry was launched during the pandemic. As suggested actions to take next, would be to ensure follow up, as well as adding influential famous peoples to push the issue into the agenda.
Not enough push in terms of motivations. The politicians are just making fun of us women.
Parliamentarians – do your job!
We realized that girls were absenting themeselves from school because they didn’t afford sanitary pads. The major problem had to do with the tax.
- Strengthen collaboration and work together
- More visibility for the issue
- Using consistent messages accompanied by the hashtag
- Using social media:
- Making videos on the impact of Period Tax on Girls and Young Women in Ghana
- Organizing a social media campaign, for example making Facebook red during May
- Continue using the hashtag #DONTTAXMYPERIOD
- Campaigning during MH Day 2022
- Involve influencers:
- Convincing influencers on the importance of the issue
- Engaging males in the campaign
- Engaging more powerful and relevant influencers
- Continue targeting decision-makers & ministries
- Follow-up with engaged ministers
- Organizing a march in front of the parliament on MHM and Period Tax
- Presenting a petition to the parliament, also in line with financial planning
- Talking about the issue especially around the year’s financial discussions.
- Involve civil society:
- Adding voices from organizations, churches, corporates, and opinion leaders at grassroots
- Raising awareness among the population to make everyone involved
- Multi-purpose actions:
- Comparing prices and costs of menstrual products
- Talking regularly about the issue