After three attempts, a bill to lower the ‘pink tax’ on women’s hygiene products and contraceptives was approved by Alþingi today, in what many regard as a significant step on the road to greater gender equality.
With the advent of this new law, the tax on these products will fall from the standard VAT of 24% to 11%, the same rate as goods such as food and other essential products, as well as some male contraceptive products. While this will cost the state around 42 million ISK, it will dramatically increase the affordability and accessibility of these products across Iceland and likely bring long term improvements in public health.
The bill was proposed by Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir, MP for the constituency of South Reykjavik and member of the Pirate Party. With the support of MPs from the Social Democrats, Centre Party and the People’s Party, the law passed with 43 votes in favour, though nine MPs present abstained from voting. The law will come into effect on September 1st, and Þórhildur has encouraged buyers to check that the tax has been lowered before they buy products.
Public opinion has been largely favourable of the new law. “I really like that they are going to reduce it. It isn’t cheap. It’s about time,” commented Anna Lovísa Jónsdóttir in an interview with RÚV.
The problem with the pink tax has been an issue in Iceland for several years, with surveys carried out in 2016 revealing sizeable price differences between products for men and women which, apart from the marketing, were effectively identical.
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