As U.S. advocacy to end the “tampon tax” on all feminine hygiene products continues, Democratic politicians, including President Obama, dialled up the media conversation about the issue as 2016 got underway. Here’s a January timeline:
Jan. 5, 2016, Michele Gorman, Newsweek, California legislators seek to end “tampon tax” on feminine hygiene products
Jan. 7, 2016, Josh Barro, The New York Times, The Latest Sales Tax Controversy: Tampons
So why shouldn’t tampons get the same tax break as other necessities? It’s a question that’s been debated in legislatures around the world, with tampon tax cuts adopted in Canada and rejected in France last year.
Jan. 8, 2016, Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon, Time to end the tampon tax: Sales tax on feminine hygiene products unfairly penalize women
But while arguments over what makes something a necessity are open to debate, arguments over a fee that only affects one segment of the population are not. That’s what makes the sales tax unfair. And that’s a price women don’t deserve to pay.
Jan. 8, 2016, Sarah Larimer, The Washington Post, The ‘tampon tax,’ explained
It’s an issue that’s gaining more and more attention around the world. Canada’s tax on feminine hygiene products was lifted over summer, after thousands signed an online petition on the matter. In Britain, a few women staged a “tampon tax” protest while on their periods last fall.
Jan. 20, 2016, Sade Strehlke, Teen Vogue, Watch YouTube Star Ingrid Nilsen School President Obama on the “Tampon Tax”
As Ingrid and our president point out, however, periods are not optional for most women, and we shouldn’t be burdened with an extra charge when it’s that time of month.
President Obama sheepishly admitted that he doesn’t know why states tax tampons, but he suspects “it’s because men were making these laws when those taxes were passed.”
“I don’t know anyone who has a period who thinks it’s a luxury,” Ingrid responded. President Obama agreed, and said his wife, would probably agree with her too. “It’s something that’s part of our everyday lives, and is crucial to our health as women,” she continued.
Jan. 26, 2016, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, The Nation, Why Are We Paying Sales Tax on Tampons?
Jan. 28, 2016: Haley Snyder, Huff Post Politics, There Will Be Blood–So Long As There Is Inequality
For a woman making decent money, a simple tax on tampons may be unnoticeable, but for someone who is poor who spends a larger percentage of her money on tampons, a “small” difference may strip away her ability to afford a product entirely.
Jan 28, 2016, Kerry Close, Money (Time Inc.), The Tampon Tax Could Finally Be Eliminated in These States
At home, there’s hope for women who live in the majority of states that still somehow consider tampons a luxury. The issue has been getting a lot of press lately, with even President Obama admitting he doesn’t understand why the tax exists.
When asked this month by YouTube personality Ingrid Nilsen why tampons are considered luxury items in so many states, the president replied, “I suspect it’s because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed.
Meanwhile, the Change.org petition (No Tax On Tampons: Stop Taxing Our Periods! Period.) launched by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf and Cosmopolitan magazine needs just over 6,000 more signatures to reach the 50,000 mark.
Canadian Laura Wershler, SMCR member and editor-in-chief of re:Cycling, was proud when the Canadian parliament agreed unanimously to lift the federal tax on femcare products in mid-2015.