This post is written in response to the WordPress Daily Prompt, and deals with something I have always thought of as a good idea. I have been away attending to other matters for a while, but could not resist writing the following letter to my, or your, Leader:
The Hon. Head Honcho
Average First World Country
Post code not required
Date: Since forever,
but specifically, 19 December 2012
Dear so-called Democratically-elected Leader,
Subject: 100% Tampon Subsidy
Do not stop reading! I know that you yourself have never had to use a tampon or similar sanitary wear, and you can consider yourself fortunate that this is the case. The fact is that roughly half of the population of the nation you govern is female.
It may come as a shock to you, but every single one of these women menstruates every month for an average of 37 years, assuming that she has two full term pregnancies during her lifetime. This brings the rough total of the number of times she menstruates over the course of her life to around 460. For the purposes of this brief letter, I shall not discuss the many discrepancies at either end of the spectrum, nor speak of the many gynaecological issues which may arise from the mere fact that one menstruates. I merely wish to address the cost entailed in this almost lifelong maintenance exercise.
During menstruation, every single one of these women is expected to continue to carry out her normal work, duties, and obligations without so much as skipping a beat. You had not noticed? That’s proof in itself, then. In addition to that daunting prospect, she is expected to fund the procurement of basic items required to deal with the phenomenon of menstruation.
I have done some calculations of my own of the costs involved. Again, I have rounded off the figures on a monthly basis, annualised them, and multiplied them by 40 (just to be on the safe side). The net result is that at today’s prices, the cost per annum for tampons, sanitary towels, extra toilet paper, and painkillers comes to 120 euro or about 160 US dollars. Multiply that by 40, and suddenly we discover that over our lifetime – if we are sparing and choose the more economical products on the market every single month, month in, month out – we will have, or have already, spent around €4,800.00 or US$6,371.00.
Dear Leader, surely you cannot fail to see that this fact alone constitutes gender discrimination which has negative impacts at the most basic level of the economy?
I am sure that you would wish to rectify this undemocratic anomaly immediately, if not sooner. This is why I write to you in advance of your budget preparations. In case you do not get my drift on this last remark, this means you need to increase the health budget substantially, not decrease it.
I am equally sure, dear Leader, that the easiest method of distribution of this subsidy (the value of which, of course, you will index to the annual rate of inflation) is simply to plonk an annual sum in every woman’s bank account on her birthday. I feel certain that she will rush out the moment the funds arrive in her account to stock up on a year’s supply of the necessary. Believe me, this will ensure efficiency on more levels than you can begin to imagine in all walks of life, and have an indirect beneficial effect on the GDP.
As regards the sticky problem of providing proof of menstruation, I would not worry about that, if I were you. The less bureaucracy, the better, I always say!
First, it is unlikely that you will start providing the annual lump sum until a woman turns 18. So, the government will already be, on average, five to six years in arrears, so to speak. You will be able to afford, therefore, to continue awarding this 100% Tampon Subsidy (it has such a nice ring to it, don’t you think?) for at least five to six years after a woman enters menopause. Given that this is the average duration of menopause, this is an entirely justifiable action in my view.
Upon reflection, I would recommend that the trigger for the discontinuation of the 100% Tampon Subsidy should be the date upon which a woman collects her first State pension cheque.
With reference to my earlier remark about bureaucracy, there is no need to conduct a survey or referendum prior to implementing the 100% Tampon Subsidy. At least 50% of the population will think it is a good idea, and we have many sympathisers from the ranks of your own gender. That makes it a majority vote. For your information, the Tax Department already has all our details, verified to the hilt. I am sure the officials there would love to coordinate the payment of this subsidy. Indeed, I had this conversation with a female tax officer once, and she said it would give her the greatest of pleasure.
Thank you for your kind attention and amazingly rapid and ground-breakingly positive response in action to what is, after all, an excellent idea!
Yours most sincerely,
P.S. I do hope my enclosed picture of a happy tampon gives you the inspiration to become, and remain, a truly great Leader.