Free the Tampons: Ending the "Tampon Tax"

Let’s do the math:

  • $60-$70 a year on tampons (around $1,800 per lifetime)

  • $40 or more on a decent heating pad

  • $5 per ruined period panties

  • $2,000+ per year on medical care for endometriosis

  • $15-$50 per month on birth control (specifically the pill)

The list goes on and on from pads, to panty liners, to Diva Cups, to ruined bed sheets, to Advil or Midol, comfort food, and more depending on the woman of course. But if you really add up ALL of these factors, the cost per year or even a lifetime for a woman on her period racks up to thousands of dollars. The tax on tampons is a major contributor to these prices as well. The Washington Post states, “On average… women in California pay about $7 per month for 40 years of tampons and sanitary napkins. Statewide, it adds up over $20 million annually in taxes.” This was back in 2016, and has only increased since then. Taxes vary from state to state and country to country, but looking at these numbers alone gives you a good idea on how much money is being poured into this gender injustice.

Recently Nevada became the 10th state to exempt menstrual products from sales tax after the November 6 ballots. This is huge for not just cis women, but for trans men and other nonbinary people too.

This small win for Nevada is a big step for the future of menstrual equality. Many women have a hard time paying for feminine hygiene products, especially those in prisons and shelters. Sometimes work or school is missed so women can tend to their symptoms, and even talking about periods is still taboo! “The average woman has her period for 2,535 days of her life. That’s nearly seven years’ time of making sure you have a pad or tampon, finding a makeshift solution if you don’t, and managing pain and discomfort” says The New York Times. By providing better ways to acquire feminine hygiene products and educating the public, we will be able to effectively lessen the misconceptions on periods.

Tampons are a necessity, NOT a luxury. It’s sad that extra money goes down the drain for a biological process that’s completely out of control for about half the world’s population. The University of Utah states, “According to the Feminine Hygiene Product Safety Act of 2015, feminine hygiene products are a $2 billion industry in the US… the leading causes of menstrual hygiene are related to availability and affordability.” Nevada, Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Florida are all setting examples for other states across the country. Raising awareness on the tampon tax—and even the pink tax that involves unfair pricing on products (such as clothing and toys) for women or girls—will help people understand that this gender discrimination must be fought against. Hopefully, in the near future Ohio can be the 11th state to do so too.