A monthly menstrual cycle is nearly inescapable for the average healthy woman who is not on specialized birth control or pregnant. Many women choose to use feminine hygiene products to keep themselves comfortable throughout this time.
Recently there has been an uproar about taxation in the U.S., U.K., and Australia over tampons and feminine hygiene products. Many women view this as the government directly taxing them for having a period, but this may be an over-simplification.
Taxation in the United States is particularly tricky. To eliminate the tax on tampons and feminine hygiene products, 40 different state-wide campaigns would need to occur to sort out the fluctuating rates of taxation.
An example is needed to truly understand how much women would be saving if taxes were removed from these products. According to the United States Tax Foundation, Tennessee has the highest sales tax in the U.S. at 9.45 percent.
The online sector of the retail superstore Target sells tampons, and by taking the average price of the first five advertised boxes, the price is $7.03 per box of tampons. The Tennessee sales tax on this price is 66 cents. At this rate, women would save 66 cents on a box of name brand tampons if the tax on feminine hygiene products was abolished in Tennessee.
Sixty-six cents. This is enough to buy a drugstore candy or one box of tampons after saving the tax in a piggy bank from ten other boxes. One could assume that the fight for ending the taxation on feminine products is less about the cost and more about the implication of taxing what many women view as a necessity.
But ladies, it’s an exaggerated 66 cents on average when calculated on the most expensive brands of tampons in the state with the highest sales tax rate. Samantha Allen from The Daily Beast points out that it is also important to remember that all states but two tax toilet paper, something that women use all year long, not just on a select few days during the month.
A more compelling argument than the tampon tax debate would be ensuring that all women have access to feminine hygiene products.
The Homeless Period is a campaign initiated by Oliver Frost, Josie Shedden and Sara Bakhaty that raises awareness about homeless women and the often nonexistent supply of feminine hygiene products available to them. The trio created a short video about their cause. The government provides condoms to homeless shelters, so why not tampons and pads?
Feminism has seen no stronger era than perhaps our current decade. Women have been oppressed throughout nearly every chapter of history, but when women harness the power to reshape, unite, empower, rectify, mitigate, and inspire, the chosen end goal is … tampons?
The message is clear: do not tax a product that makes a necessary bodily function manageable. However, the prowess that women possess to set change in motion is monumental, and if this is harnessed to change federal policy rather than tax, the outcome may be more substantial and long lasting, rather than something as seemingly inconsequential as saving pennies on the dollar for a box of tampons.