Young Parliamentarians lead campaign to address sanitary-health issues for female students

A group of young people intends to lobby the Government on an issue dubbed “Period Poverty,” as it seeks to get female sanitary products offered to students free of cost. 

The group – the National Youth Parliament Association of Antigua and Barbuda (NYPAAB) – believes the time has come to address the issue, starting with an education campaign in the schools.

“Period poverty” is a term that refers to the lack of access to menstrual and hygiene products, health education, and so on.

Kamalie Mannix, President of the Association, believes this drive will go a long way toward helping young women to focus while they are actively learning.  It will also “assist in ensuring that women can walk with pride even when going through their menstrual cycle,” he says.

The Association has commenced the drafting of a bill called the Feminine Sanitary Products Bill with the aim of taking it before the Parliament.

“The piece of legislation will not only make sanitary products available to young women, but also create spaces (Menstrual Clinics) where they can address their menstrual issues without fear,” Mannix says.

This Bill was the brainchild of Jahmaal Frederick, a member of the Youth Parliament.  After hearing the experiences of some young women, he explains, he decided to come up with a way to help them.

According to the Association, feminine sanitary products are not price-controlled in Antigua and Barbuda, so businesses here can price these goods as they see fit.  Additionally, it says that napkins and tampons are the only feminine sanitary items where no tax is applied.

Therefore, the young leaders are appealing for a price cap to be instituted on all sanitary products.

The Government of Barbados, in its 2022 budget, announced that Value Added Tax on selected personal and critical-care items – including women’s sanitary products – would be zero-rated as of April 1, 2022.