‘Tampon tax’ around the world

This week, as unofficial international women taboos correspondent, I tackled the tax paid on sanitary products around the world, featuring fabulous Slovakian Diana Fabianova, director of The Moon Inside You:

Tampons and sanitary towels

Half the world’s population needs to use them for a week each month every month for about 30 years.

So why are sanitary products – used to absorb menstrual blood and therefore many would argue essential – taxed?

A campaign launched in a number of countries has had success in Australia where treasurer Joe Hockey has said he will ask state and territory governments to remove the tax on tampons and sanitary towels.

 

Read more here.

Why does Indonesia demand that female military recruits are virgins?

Indonesian female soldiers

Human rights activists want Indonesia to stop so-called virginity tests being used in the recruitment of female military recruits.

“Bonkers”, “primitive” and “unscientific” are words used to describe it by one of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) researchers who interviewed women who had been subjected to the test.

The World Health Organization has said: “There is no place for virginity testing; it has no scientific validity.”

HRW says the tests are also discriminatory and have no bearing on a woman’s ability to perform her job.

 Continue reading here.

China’s last women to have had their feet bound

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Decades after foot-binding was outlawed in China, a British photographer has met some of the last women subjected to the practice.

It was with a sense of pride that Su Xi Rong revealed her feet to British photographer Jo Farrell.

Her feet, bound from the age of seven, were so small that she had been renowned for their beauty.

Continue reading here.

Metropolitan Police corruption suspensions near 50 over two years

Nearly 50 Metropolitan police officers and 26 staff members have been suspended for alleged corruption in the past two years, figures show.

Of the 47 officers, 77% were specials or constables, a Freedom of Information request revealed.

A total of 222 officers were suspended between 2012 and 2014, with alleged corruption cited as the main reason.

The Met said suspensions did not imply guilt, but all allegations were “taken extremely seriously”.

The revelation follows a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) which warns “the threat to the Met of corrupt activity remains significant”.

Read more here.