Netherlands

Dutch parliament wants free tampons for women on low salaries

A majority in the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) has supported a proposal calling for people who menstruate to receive free period products if their salaries fall into the low-income bracket.

Dutch government could provide free period products from 2023

Research conducted by development and humanitarian organisation Plan International found that one in 10 women and girls in the Netherlands aren’t able to afford period products. While estimates about the cost of menstruation vary, a recent study conducted by OnePoll found that, on average, women spend almost 6.000 euros on period products throughout their lifetime.

Some municipalities in the Netherlands, including Rotterdam, Gouda and Utrecht already provide free pads and tampons to citizens, but now it looks as though the Dutch government is ready to implement a similar system nationwide.

This week, a proposal submitted to the House of Representatives by Hülya Kat and Marieke Koekkoek – MPs for D66 and Volt – involves distributing pads and tampons to women and girls who earn up to 120 percent of the national minimum wage via food banks or the Red Cross. It would likely cost the government around 2 million euros.

Tweede Kamer supports plan for free tampons for low-income earners

Kat and Koekkoek’s plan received the support of the majority of parliamentary parties, including the GroenLinks, the Labour Party (PvdA), the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), and ChristenUnie (CU).

“Menstruation is not a choice,” Kat is quoted as saying in RTL Nieuws. “It cannot be the case that girls do not go to school because of this and miss a test or exam. With free menstrual products, we ensure that they can participate again.”

Both the Party for Freedom (PVV) and the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) opposed the plan. “A lot is already happening to support minimum wages in these difficult times. Think of minimum wage and energy compensation. We do not support measures for specific products,” the VVD’s Daan de Kort said.

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