By: Jacqueline Cruz ’20
The experience of going into a public restroom and seeing a feminine product dispensary asking you to pay 25 cents yet finding nothing inside is a very common occurrence for many women, including myself. Were any sanitary products ever in there? Why is it that toilet paper is constantly being restocked but not pads or tampons yet they are both necessities for women? Better yet why are we being charged tax for this hygienic and sanitary product? Feminine hygiene products should be free of taxation and available for all women nationwide.
The infrequent changing of period products is unhealthy and unsanitary, but according to Free The Tampons, nearly one in five adolescents aged 12-17 live in poverty. As of Jan. 22, 2017, 38 out of the 50 states impose a tax on tampons and pads known by many as the Tampon Tax. This means that those living in poverty may not be able to purchase these necessities because it is too expensive for their families. This poses a danger to their health as not having the proper products to use or infrequent changing of their sanitary products could lead them with a bacterial infection.
A human necessity should not be considered a luxury item, especially not for feminine sanitary products because really do any of us women consider getting our period a luxury?
It is unfair to tax women on an item they need in order to maintain a sanitary and healthy lifestyle and by taxing women, an economic burden is put on their shoulders. According to the Institute For Women’s Policy Research, women earn less than men, white-women making only 80 cents for every dollar men earn, women of color earning even less. Imposing a tax on these products creates a larger issue for those people who don’t have enough money to buy sanitary products creating a health risk to less privileged women.
There is an opposing opinion that believes not having a tax on feminine products would not be fair since many other products are taxed. Another product taxed that is a basic necessity is toilet paper and many would argue that if one necessary sanitary product, tampons and pads, are not to be taxed then neither should something like toilet paper. While toilet paper is a basic sanitary necessity it does not equate to menstrual products.
Menstrual care should be classified as a medical necessity. There is no reason to impose a tax on feminine products when it is a biological reaction that no women is able to have control over. The tampon tax must be repealed as it puts those who are not privileged enough to afford to buy these products in danger and it is unfair to punish women for something we can’t control.