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The Pink Tax and Its Effect on Women

Updated: Jan 5


The Tampon Tax (also known as the Pink Tax) is infamous for its impact on women. Menstrual hygiene products are not sales tax exempt and are labelled as luxury products despite being necessities. As a result, they can be costly and inaccessible. In fact, the average woman will spend a total of $18,171 in period supplies over the course of her life. The health and quality of living for women is compromised due to the Tampon Tax. Yet, as of December 2020, only 20 states in the U.S. are have exempted the sales tax on feminine hygiene products.

The prices of feminine hygiene products raises alarm for many of its female consumers across America. In many states, feminine hygiene products are considered luxury items because they are made at relatively low costs but bought at high demands. Since they are viewed as luxury items, they are not exempt from sales tax. On the other hand, products such as medical supplies, food, and medicine are tax exempt because they are essential to life. However, many argue that period products are also essential to life, and should likewise be tax exempt. Back in August, three women filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan, stating that the tax on period products was a form of "sex-based discrimination".

Some argue claiming it would be a major loss in revenue, up to millions of dollars for states without the Tampon Tax. Money gained from the Tampon Tax typically helps fund valuable programs and policies in the state. However, if the Tampon Tax is kept, it only makes sense for it to contribute for the wellbeing of girls and women alike. Using the revenue to fund donations for women with limited access to menstrual hygiene products, support organizations dedicated to helping women, and educating people on the matter are some possible solutions.

The fact females are being charged for a natural process raises deserved concerns. Plenty of petitions and campaigns have aided in their efforts to repeal Tampon Taxes in the remaining 30 states. Campaigns such as Period Equity and Tax Free Period work to eliminate the Tampon Tax in all fifty states by pressuring state institutions through letters, protests, phone calls, creating resources, and raising awareness.

As Tax Day approaches, many cross their fingers in anticipation for the discriminatory act to finally be expelled.



Sources:

https://www.bloodandmilk.com/what-is-the-tampon-tax/

https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/10/18/sales-tax-menstrual-products

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/15/703687071/tampon-tax-repeal-benefits-women-but-comes-at-a-cost-to-states

https://www.taxfreeperiod.com/blog-entries/were-demanding-that-30-states-become-tax-free-period-by-tax-day-2021

https://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a29490059/tampon-tax-state-guide/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/period-cost-lifetime_n_7258780

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/08/13/tampon-tax-lawsuit-menstrual-taxes-michigan/3363164001/