What to Know About the Tampon Tax

April 10, 2019

As we continue to move forward regarding overall equality and how that looks we have to examine how that impacts everyday life.  Key factors such as policy, finances, and treatment of people contribute to a world that is more just for us all.



Finances, more importantly, financial freedom play a significant role in equality. In a country with a majority of men policy makers, like America, you can see the effects of it in certain areas, one would be taxes. So, what exactly is the Tampon Tax? The tampon tax is the sales tax that is applied to feminine hygiene products. While sales taxes are a standard part of our government, there are certain items that are not taxed because they are categorized as necessities. Which makes rational sense to most of us, we need groceries to live, but we can all go without our favorite sheet mask.


Well, Cristina Garcia, Assemblywoman in California realized this and told The Washington Post she considered the sales tax to be a “gender injustice”.  In 2016, she introduced Assembly Bill 1561, in an effort to end the tampon tax. Her argument is that the menstruation is a body function that happens; there is no luxury surrounding it.


The further issue with the tampon tax would come from comparison to the medication Viagra, which gets a tax exemption. These types of policies continue to spur debate across the world. In Australia, Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek called the tampon tax “ridiculous” and and a "dumb decision" that brings in "bugger all money" at while at the National Press Club.


Plibersek brings up a crucial point, the profit the government gains from keeping this particular sales tax. Continuing to tax feminine hygiene products is a reliable source for money, it’s not a trendy new product. Pads and tampons are a product some people end up using for 40 years. It is estimated that over those 40 years in California, there is a profit of 20 million dollars annually in taxes.


In more recent news, there are ten states in the U.S. that no longer have a tampon tax. Countries like Kenya, Canada, India, Australia, and Malaysia have all stopped taxing menstruation products. Due to the tampon tax being a sales tax it will continue to be debatable on a state by state basis.


The tampon tax brings up a lot of questions around policy, government leadership, money, and the stigma around menstruation. Despite some resistance throughout the country, I do think we will get to the point where there is nationwide exemption. However, this is an issue that should stay in the mind of Americans, so we can see improvements.


​Olivia Pandora Stokes is 21 and entering her senior year as a business administration major, with a marketing concentration. She has a love of words, Netflix, and reading.She takes her coffee strong (Harvard scientists insist it's healthy for you) and her feminism intersectional. In the future Olivia Pandora plans write more and use business to create a positive impact in the world.


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Follow Step Up Magazine
  • Twitter Basic Black
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Facebook Basic Black
  • Black Snapchat Icon
  • Black Pinterest Icon