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The Tampon Tax

Updated: Apr 18, 2022

Tampons and other menstrual products, while essential for women, are not included in federal sales tax exemption categories. In thirty states period products are subject to a luxury

tax, while other necessities like groceries and medication escape this tax. This extra tax on already expensive menstrual products can be very strenuous on low income citizens who must purchase these products monthly. As women cannot control menstruation, we must rectify this problem as a step towards gender equity.


Opponents of the tax argue that it “amounts to sex-based discrimination” against women (Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, via New York Times). The enforcement of a luxury tax on typically female products, while unnecessary male items like Viagra are exempt, is a clear example of misogyny. For example, institutions such as Missouri State University’s Taylor Health and Wellness Center have offered free condoms in the past, but never tampons/pads.

Although society seems to do it easily, it is hard to ignore that women in California pay an average of seven dollars a month per person for feminine hygiene products (Larimer). For many low income women, seven dollars a month for menstrual products is not feasible. Thankfully, there are lawmakers and citizens who notice the many women that struggle under the burden of the tampon tax, and therefore fight in courtrooms and government chambers to terminate it.

LOLA, a women-led company that makes organic menstrual products, Period Equity, a nonprofit group of lawyers focused on making menstrual products more accessible and more affordable, and several other similar organizations have helped make progress towards an end to the tampon tax. New York, Florida, Nevada, Connecticut, and Illinois ended the tax between 2016 and 2018. Twenty-two other states introduced bills to repeal the tax, but none were signed. Some lessened the tax, while others have made attempts to increase access for low income people. While this is a step in the right direction, there is still progress yet to be made.

 

Works Cited

Larimer, Sarah. “The 'Tampon Tax,' Explained.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 29 Apr. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/08/the-tampon-tax-explained/.


Sagner, Ema. “More States Move To End 'Tampon Tax' That's Seen As Discriminating Against Women.” NPR, NPR, 25 Mar. 2018, www.npr.org/2018/03/25/564580736/more-states-move-to-end-tampon-tax-that-s-seen-as-discriminating-against-women.


Zraick, Karen. “22 States Considered Eliminating the 'Tampon Tax' This Year. Here's What Happened.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 July 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/07/12/us/tampon-tax.html.




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