March 21, 2016 12:45 PM

Chicago lawmakers have voted to repeal the tampon tax on tampons and pads, and now the European Union has agreed to allow each member state to decide independently if they will apply a tax.

In Chicago, women were previously taxed 10.25 percent on feminine products, and this decision will eliminate the city’s portion of the tax, decreasing the total tax by 1.25 percent, according to the Associated Press. The tampons and sanitary napkins are now considered medical necessities.

The state of Illinois is also considering removing their tax on feminine hygiene and incontinence products. Currently, women in only five states are exempt from paying a tax on the products – Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, the EU agreed to give each member state the choice to repeal their tax, or VAT, a big win for the free bleeding protesters in the United Kingdom, where they are currently taxed 5 percent.

British Chancellor George Osborne told BBC News that the government “heard people’s anger over paying the tampon tax loud and clear.”

“We said we’d fight for agreement to reduce the VAT rate to zero, and tonight all European leaders have welcomed our plan to do just that,” Osborne said. “We’ve achieved what no British government has even tried to achieve.”

“It just shows how Britain can make a case for a reform that will benefit millions as a powerful, confident voice inside a reformed EU.”

RELATED VIDEO: #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult: Women Are Tweeting Donald Trump About Their Periods

Drummer Kiran Gandhi famously ran the London Marathon while free bleeding to raise awareness of the women who do not have access to feminine products.

“I ran with blood dripping down my legs for sisters who don’t have access to tampons and sisters who, despite cramping and pain, hide it away and pretend like it doesn’t exist,” she told PEOPLE.

Lawmakers across the U.S. have spoken out in favor of eliminating the tax in other areas, including New York and California.

And President Obama said in an interview in January that he has “no idea why states would tax these as luxury items.”

“I suspect it’s because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed,” he said.

You May Like