The United Nations Population Fund Ghana (UNFPA Ghana) has called on the government to remove the luxury taxes on sanitary pads to make them affordable for teenage girls.
The agency made this call at the 2022 Adolescent Girls Learning Forum (ADOLEF), which was held at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Accra on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, on the theme, ‘Girls At The Center Of All Dialogues.’
Speaking to UniversNews after the forum, Programs Assistant for Gender at UNFPA Ghana, Abigail Edem Hunu indicated that it is the current exorbitant prices of sanitary pads that have led to the rise of teenage pregnancies and child marriages in the country.
She urged the government to, as a matter of urgency, start taking measures to make sure that the taxes on pads are permanently eradicated.
“If you go to some shops, the ‘Always’ pad is as high as 24, 28 cedis. When it was even at 8 cedis, it was a challenge because we were having issues with – sex for pads – and all that. Again, you’ll start going to Bro. Kofi for pad; 5 cedis, 10 cedis, and tomorrow what is not supposed to be happening ends up happening. Getting pregnant, raping the girls, and all that, and so now that pad is very expensive, I am just thinking about the implications of that on the vulnerable in society because you know you can use as high as three pads in a month. So if we take off the taxes on pads or give the manufacturing companies some form of tax holiday, we as development partners can start giving it out in bulk,” she said.
Further speaking, Abigail Hunu called for men and boys to be included in discussions of teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence.
According to her, since these men are mostly perpetrators of these behaviours, it is right to sensitize them as well.
“We know that per the statistics, women and girls are at more risk of suffering from child marriage and teenage pregnancies and some forms of harmful practices, including gender-based violence as well. So our target over the years has really been women and girls. But then we realized that the perpetrators are mostly men and boys, and if we want this to stop, it is very critical for us to begin to deliberately deepen our engagements with the men and boys and ensure that they become allies in our quest as a global platform to achieve our SDGs in 2030,” she added.
2022 Adolescent Girls Learning Forum (ADOLEF)
The United Nations Population Fund Ghana has established a learning forum that brings together girls from all the ‘Global Programme to End Child Marriage’ (GPECM) regions once a year to learn and share best practices on combating child marriage and teenage pregnancies and to create safe spaces for girls to strive.
The forum also brings development and implementing partners, as well as some government agencies, on board to aid in the achievement of these goals.
Photos from 2022 Adolescent Girls Learning Forum (ADOLEF)
Story by: Kelly Adjetey Boye | univers.ug.edu.gh