Menstruation Taxes: The Cost of Periods is Too High

Menstruation taxes must end to achieve equality!

For most women and girls, periods come every month. We don’t have the choice to have or not to have them. Periods aren’t optional, however some still deem sanitary products as a luxury.

Periods are costly. We pay more than what’s fair for a necessity item. Women and girls around the world are subject to increased health risks from not having access to clean and sanitary feminine hygiene products. The added taxes on sanitary products prohibits many women and girls around the world from access to these products.

In addition, menstruation affects women and girls’ equality. Girls are staying out of school because of lack of access to disposable sanitary products or clean water to wash reusable products. The taboo of periods made it difficult to discuss the topic in mainstream, but recently it’s grown more acceptable.

There is a great difference between hygienic facilities available to students in developed countries and under-developed countries. Students in less developed countries have less access to sanitary resources, which furthers inequality.

Image Credit: UNICEF

As of May 2016, these are the US states that do or do not add taxes to women’s sanitary products. Not only has there been progress to generate more conversation regarding the topic, but several U.S. states have recently began putting an end to taxes on menstrual items. While Western countries have made progress, there’s still much to do on a global scale.

Image credit: Columbia University

What can be done to end the stigma surrounding menstruation?

  • Better educating girls on periods and clean, safe, practices
  • Providing education to boys about periods because it’s not just a woman’s issue!
  • Governments making products more accessible and seen as necessary
  • Reforming schools/workplaces in order to better accommodate women and girls on their periods

What are some initiatives that have already taken place?

  • The Clinton Foundation works to improve health for women across the United States
  • Calicut Medical College launched a poetry contest to urge students to speak about menstruation
  • UNICEF’s WASH campaign aimed at providing clean, safe, hygienic environments for students, both male and female
  • Cosmopolitan Magazine’s petition to US Legislators to end the tampon tax

Image Credit: Snopes

About the Author

Kathryn Pitts is a Political Science major at Georgia State University, pursuing a career in the non-profit sector. She is aiming to work with refugees, specifically women and children, and women’s rights on a global scale. She is passionate about volunteer work and strives to help others every day. Kathryn also enjoys playing with her dog and hiking on weekends off.