Products such as shampoo, razors, and deodorants are considered necessities. But most people don’t realize these necessities can actually vary greatly with price depending on their gender. Walk into any convenience store, and one will notice that there are obvious differences in price when products are marketed towards female consumers versus male consumers. This price discrepancy can be attributed to the so-called “pink tax,” which refers to the extra amount charged for products made for women.
A majority of the “pink tax” is known as the “tampon tax,” the fee women pay for menstrual products such as tampons and pads. Currently, 35 states in the US still implement the “tampon tax” and continue to tax feminine hygiene products as luxury items instead of necessities.
This poses a problem for women who cannot afford food or rent, let alone pay extra money for monthly menstrual products.
A recent study revealed that one in five teenagers has struggled to afford these products or have not been able to purchase them at all. In developing countries, only 12% of women have access to sanitary products. Others must resort to using old clothing or rags as an alternative.
A large part of the “tampon tax” is a lack of education and the taboo surrounding periods.
Sophomore Greta Norris agrees, stating that “Just saying the words ‘period’ or ‘cramps’ has a negative connotation, which I don’t think there should be because it’s a natural, bodily thing every girl experiences.”
Many organizations are currently fighting for menstrual education and elimination of the discriminatory “tampon tax.” One particular organization, PERIOD, started the world’s first National Period Day on October 19, 2019. PERIOD began this movement, with their #menstrualmovement, which pledges to end period poverty and stigma.
One small step towards menstrual equity on our campus was the appearance of a student-made box in the girl’s bathroom with a sign that reads “Take one or leave one. Help a girl out.” The box holds a fluctuating number of tampons and pads throughout the day,
Only by acknowledging this crisis can we realize that the need for proper menstruation care is a necessity, not a luxury.