October 19, 2019
The World’s First National Period Day
The World’s First National Period Day by Burgundy BugSource: The Burgundy Zine
Today, Oct. 19, marks the very first national period day, according to Period., a non-profit organization fighting to end “period poverty.”
As this article is being written, rallies are taking place across the country to part the red sea of the oppressive “tampon tax” on period products.
Sales Tax: The Basics
To put National Period Day into perspective, it’s important to understand how sales tax work.
Sales tax are regulated at a state and local level, says USA Gov. Rates, exemptions, and exclusions will vary by state, but exclusions generally include: food, clothes, medicine, newspapers, and utilities.
These items are exempt because they are considered “necessities” – items essential to human survival.
Not every state collects sales taxes, either. As of Oct 2019, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon don’t collect sales tax, according to the Sales Tax Institute.
What is “The Tampon Tax”
Seven out of the 45 states that collect sales tax specifically excluded feminine hygiene products as of 2017, says Tax Foundation. Those seven states include Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
In the last two years, multiple states have introduced legislation to repeal taxes on menstrual products, but only a few of the bills have passed.
By Joe Roe – Own workSource: Tampon Tax | Wikipedia
This file was derived from: Blank US Map (states only).svg
Hillin, Taryn (June 3, 2015). These are the U.S. states that tax women for having periods. Fusion. Retrieved on December 25, 2016.
Davis, Aaron C. (April 4, 2016). “The ‘tampon tax’ fight has reached D.C.“. The Washington Post. Retrieved on 25 December 2016.
Illinois passed: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/illinois-state-eliminate-tampon-tax-article-1.2758527, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Most women get their period on a monthly basis and yet the most states collect taxes on menstrual products.
By indirectly saying these products aren’t a “necessity,” it signals that most states and local governments don’t prioritize women’s health, and it also it decreases the accessibility of pads and tampons.
At your local CVS, the cheapest maxi pads you can buy are their own brand’s short and ultra thin pads for $2.99 – which, are great for spotting between periods or as a safety net in conjunction with a tampon, but they aren’t practical for the average woman who menstruates approximately 44ml of blood over the course of four to eight days, as outlined by the Office on Women’s Health.
For practical period coverage, women are looking at about $10.79 to $13.49 for a box of pads (about 31.5¢ to 37.5¢ per pad), $5.49 to $12.29 for a box of tampons (about 24.6¢ to 39.2¢ per tampon), or $41.99 for a menstrual cup.
When you’re already spending $10.79 to $41.99 on a product for something that occurs every 28 to 35 days, paying an additional 2.9 percent to 7.2 percent tax doesn’t help the financial burden.
According to Period., 25 percent of women struggle to afford period products.
If women who are living off of low-income have to choose between buying food and period products, where does that leave women who are homeless?
National Period Day
To raise awareness and work towards eliminating the “tampon tax” in all 50 states, Period. has organized rallies in every state that are open to everyone – not just women who menstruate, but allies of all genders.
You can learn more about the National Period Day rallies as well as Period.’s mission on their website.
If you are in college and struggling to afford menstrual products, reach out to a counselor on campus. They may be able to help you find resources and some colleges even provide free pads or tampons on campus.
Don’t be shy about asking for help. Menstruation is a normal and natural part of reproductive health.
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