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Turkish women decry high price of sanitary pads

Women activists call on the Turkish government for a tax reduction and other measures to lower the prices of menstrual products, which have grown forbiddingly expensive amid the country’s economic turmoil.
This photo taken on Feb. 9, 2020, shows an attendant checking the stock of sanitary pads inside a mobile toilet on a bus in Pune, India.

Turkey’s leading political satire magazine, LeMan, devoted its cover to women’s menstrual products last week, depicting a woman looking desperately at a sanitary pad flying away in the air. It was a lampoon of the extent to which Turkey’s economic turmoil has eroded purchasing power, sparking a campaign to lower the prices of sanitary pads, which have become unaffordable for millions of women.

Turkey’s government-run statistical institute says consumer inflation hit 36.08% in 2021, while independent researchers put the figure as high as 82.81%. According to the institute, the price of sanitary pads rose by nearly 60% over a year to reach 1.05 liras ($0.08) per piece in December. Menstrual products are among the goods on which the government levies the highest value-added tax (VAT) of 18%.

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