By Nikki Seymour, Age 26
Let’s talk about periods. Women get them. And most likely, they will menstruate once a month. And unlike what one of my male friends believes, women need more than one tampon a period (true story).
The tampon tax refers to the state’s 6.35% sales tax applied to feminine hygiene products including sanitary napkins and tampons. Certain products labeled as “medical supplies” such as adult diapers are exempt from sales tax. But, products that most women need monthly are not. Baby diapers are not exempt from sales tax, either. Unfortunately, the majority of states do tax tampons and pads, although legislation is pending in five states for exemption. Connecticut has raised legislation which would categorize baby diapers and feminine hygiene products as medically necessary items in SB 216.
Part of the frustration comes from how feminine hygiene products are coded in general sales taxes. Inherently there is no bias in the general sales taxes, as there is no additional “tampon tax” put on tampons. However, the state must recognize that feminine hygiene products are medically necessary and products women NEED. States that categorize tampons as a “luxury item” clearly have never experienced a period nor would want to think about what would happen if women do not use them.
Young Women Rising’s Project Period elevates the reality of women who are homeless not having access to feminine hygiene products. The tax placed on these products makes them even more expensive. Not having access to safe and affordable products can result in unfortunate consequences.
Overall, the “tampon tax” is taxing women based on their biology. Stop Taxing Periods. Period.