Opinion: The tampon tax is an injustice to women


Photo via Medium

Being taxed for products that women need throughout their life for hygienic and safety purposes does not seem like a fair rule. Women all over the world experience the need to buy menstrual products, and some women that are not as lucky as others, having to sacrifice these products in order to accommodate other necessities– even missing work due to the lack of these products. 

‘The Tampon Tax’ is a name given to the taxing of menstrual products. Less economically stable women may have a harder time affording these products in order to afford items such as food, clothing, and other necessities. Along with the fact that households may hold more than one woman, the tampon tax can detrimentally affect the financial stability of the household. 

On average, for most women, the cost for menstrual products is about seven dollars per month. This may not seem like a problem for most people, but when it all adds up to about seventy-five to one-hundred dollars a year, low income women really feel a large blow (“What You Need”). And the fact that this tax really only affects women points to an injustice since women are being taxed for a naturally occurring bodily function. And adding onto that, a body function that, most of the time, cannot be controlled. 

Many women are proud mothers of children. And in most cases, mothers sacrifice their own hygiene for their children when the financial struggle comes down to buying childcare items or menstrual products (“Two-Thirds of”). Women should have the right to their own hygiene and safety as well as that of their children’s. They should not have to make the decision every month as to where their money will be going and if they will have enough to get by because of the absurd tax on menstrual products. 

Sometimes they have no choice but to miss work because of the disadvantage they face. This creates a sort of cycle where because of their financial instability, women are not able to afford menstrual products which leads to missing work, and the chance to become more stable. In a study at Saint Louis University, researchers said, “There are even consequences for employment. According to the study, 36 percent of the women said they had missed days of work due to lack of adequate period hygiene”(“Two-Thirds of”). 

On a brighter note, change is occurring. Nine states have eliminated the tax on menstrual products while five others have no sales tax at all (“Growing Number of”). This does leave the majority of the states still continuing the tax, and if more continue to get rid of the tax, there is a better outlook for women all over the United States, especially those who suffer financially.