Removing the Tampon Tax in Ethiopia

June 22, 2021

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Four Ethiopian women stand in front of a library.

This post was originally published on the Global Waters website and written by Lisa Schechtman, Senior Policy and Partnerships Advisor, USAID Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene; and Kathrin Tegenfeldt, Climate and WASH Advisor, Economic Growth and Transformation Office, USAID/Ethiopia.

In late 2020, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance announced that it would be removing taxes on the local manufacture of menstrual hygiene products, and cutting import taxes on these products from 30 percent to 10 percent. This is a big win! But there’s more work needed. Menstrual hygiene products are, for many millions of menstruators worldwide, unaffordable and inaccessible. 

USAID is testing and developing market-based sanitation and hygiene approaches in Ethiopia, where only 28 percent of girls and women report having everything they need to manage their menstruation.  The project is also working with local entrepreneurs and importers to introduce profitable, yet affordable, reusable sanitary pads to increase women’s menstrual hygiene product choices. 

A recent study of four countries that have lifted taxes and tariffs on menstrual hygiene products has found that the overall impact on product affordability was limited. However, the analysis pointed to an even stronger benefit: menstrual hygiene tax advocacy campaigns also increased general awareness of menstrual hygiene health (MHH), thus combating stigma and opening dialogue that may yield a more holistic response. Read more about how USAID tackles MHH as a multi-sectoral issue on GlobalWaters.org. May 28th is Menstrual Health Awareness Day, follow @GlobalWaters to learn more about how USAID promotes menstrual hygiene health.