Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Here is a quick breakdown of Cost of menstrual hygiene in Nepal:
Minimum monthly wage in Nepal = Rs 13,450 (Before tax)
Per Day wage= Ra 448.33
Per hour wage= Rs. 18.68
However, not everyone earns minimum wage due to non-compliance of laws. Daily wage workers could be earning even less.
Number of pads used each cycle = (4 days * 24 hours)/6 hours = 16 pads
A sanitary pad should be changed in 4 - 6 hours for hygienic purposes.
1 pad = Rs 12
Cost of 1 menstrual cycle = Rs 12*16 pads= Rs. 192
*Taking an average age group of menstruators as 13 - 51 years.
Total menstrual cycle in a lifetime = 38*12 = 456
Now a total of 456 periods will result in 7,296 pads.
For Rs 12 per pad, the total cost of menstruation in a lifetime is Rs. 87,552.
This is the sole cost of sanitary pads, without keeping in mind the cost of pain relievers, heat pads, reproductive health check-ups and other visits to the doctor.
Without 13% VAT, a menstruating individual will be saving Rs 11,380 in a lifetime.
Despite menstruation being a biological and hygienic requisite of more than half the population, current legislation systemically discriminates against menstruating individuals by adding an extra 13% VAT burden on basic necessities such as sanitary napkins. Taxing period products creates an economic obstacle on MIs, proving this to be a barrier towards safe health and sanitation. Thus, we are forcing a majority of MIs to use unsafe alternatives and disregard their menstrual health. This is not just a form of inequity, but also one of the few examples of years of suppression of issues and basic needs of women and marginalized communities being overlooked by the Government of Nepal.