Ending the Cycle of the Tampon Tax

On average, women spend a whopping 4,800 dollars on period products in their lifetime. In response to an ongoing conflict concerning women’s hygiene products, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill on November 4th, 2021, to end taxes on tampons and other feminine hygiene products. Whitmer stated, “After years of trying to repeal this tax, I am proud that we are bringing people together to put Michiganders first and drive down costs on these essential products.” Tampons are considered a luxury item making the sales tax 6%. Before this bill, the state would make an annual seven billion-dollar revenue because of a female biological necessity.
Period Poverty is a term used to describe the lack of access that approximately 500 million women worldwide have to feminine sanitizing products. Women and girls with a lower income tend to spend their money more on other necessities and forsake necessities like tampons because of the financial burden they impose. Ending the tampon tax is one of the leading solutions to lessen the effects of this global crisis for women.
Taxing tampons, which are necessary for women, can be considered sex-based discrimination, which is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Civil Rights amendment. The Equal Protection Clause prevents government discrimination based on race and gender, making the tampon tax technically unconstitutional. “Menstrual Inequality” is what this issue is referred to as.
Junior Ruby Katkowsky shares her thoughts on this new legislation. “I feel delighted and supported with the tampon tax going away. It will affect me because I can save much more money every time I buy supplies to take care of my body. This bill will save lots of money that will add up over time. I think this will be a great thing for others and positively impact people. Many people will benefit from the lower prices and will make these essential supplies much more affordable. I think this should have been done a long time ago as a way to support women and help make things that we need more affordable, but I think that this is a huge step, and we will continue to see positive changes like these in the future.”
Many people may argue that overturning a 6% tax may not be a significant change. However, when women are constantly buying products for their health every month, it adds up. This tax cut is just one step forward in ending Period Poverty forever. And, recently, Ann Arbor, Michigan, became the first US city to require free menstrual products in all female public restrooms.
Period products are considered necessities, like other medical commodities, and the sales tax will be eliminated by February of 2022.
To help end Period Poverty, try to use feminine products from companies that give back to women (ex: LOLA, Cora, Lunapads, etc.) You can also donate to charities, sign petitions, go on marches, and most importantly, educate yourself.