Let’s talk about auntie Flo and period tax today. Do you know how much a woman spends to attend to her period every month? According to Metro.co.uk, an average woman spends about £4,916 on period products in a lifetime. That is 150, 486.03 Zambian Kwacha! The article was written in 2019 so I’m sure by now that amount has escalated.
Pink tax has been talked about for a while now. The price women have to pay for their periods is astronomical. Not all countries shun this talk though. Last year, Scotland became the first country to make menstrual products free for all women. A win all of us should be celebrating as it is a glimmer of hope for the rest of us.
How Much Do Periods Cost In Zambia?
I am going to use general knowledge and personal experience on this one. I am going to use my experience, the experience of women whom I have come into contact with and my general knowledge of the cost of a period in Zambia.
I am going to list products one by one with the approximate price in order to derive an approximate figure.
- Pads/Tampons – K50. This is the worst time to have a period with the current prices of goods. Some may argue and say there are cheaper sanitary products but the ones that cost less are usually counterfeit and expose more danger to the woman. If a woman is to have access to safe products, a packet is about K30 to K35. Now, I don’t have much information on tampons but that K35 is only a packet of 8 to 10 pads. If a woman doesn’t experience heavy flows that that would be enough but the women with heavy flows require one and a half packet to two packets.
- Panty liners – K25. Before the start of a period and afterwards, a woman uses panty liners to keep her underwear stain free. These are an extra cost.
- Washing powder – K10. This is an approximate amount. The amount of washing that goes on during that time is unimaginable. There are stained undergarments to wash to perfection, sometimes beddings get stained, clothes etc.
- Pain killer – K5 – K20. Pain killers that work differ from woman to woman. Some women get relief from cheaper pills like paracetamol while others require stronger pills in order to minimize the pain. These medicines differ in prices.
- Underwear/panties K10. With periods come painful farewells to favourite underwear that need to be replaced.
- Cravings – K50. Not all women can afford to attend to their cravings but when they do, cravings can cost even more than K50.
So how much do periods approximately cost in Zambia?
From the list above, the Total is : K165.
How much is that per year? K1,980.
How much is that in her lifetime? K79,200.
I have always wanted to join the movement of organising menstrual products for girls and women in need. I think it is safe to say this has made me realize how important it is that you and I join in.
There are so many of our girls and women using products and cloths that are a danger to their health. To top it all off, so many of our girls miss school due to lack of proper products.
In conclusion, menstruation is a natural process and should be talked about more, especially in the African community. Period stigma has led to a lot of misconceptions about the female anatomy leading to more ignorance on the issue.
The amount of money women spend on periods is astonishingly too much to be considered normal and acceptable.