Maya C. Washington

The Tampon Tax

Tampons are a necessity, but they continue to be taxed as a luxury in most states. This harms homeless women and unfairly taxes women for unstoppable bodily functions.

Dear Ms. Clinton,

As you are well aware, the wage gap persists between men and women, and white workers and workers of color. This means that a large portion of Americans have far less expendable income than others, despite working the same or equivalent jobs as their white, male counterparts. Coupled with the higher prices of products targeted at women and taxes on necessities, such as tampons, it further increases the wealth disparity between people who menstruate and those who do not.

One relatively simple way to work to close this gap is by classifying tampons and other menstrual products as necessities in order to exempt them from sales tax. Many people seem confused about how menstruation works, but it must be made clear that it is unlike any other bodily function that can simply be put off until a more convenient time presents itself--there is no way to prevent oneself from bleeding in the way one can prevent oneself from peeing, for example.

A sales tax on tampons makes them less affordable. If someone is unable to afford menstrual products, it can drastically worsen their quality of life and create a health hazard. Homeless women are unable to gain employment if they are menstruating without access to tampons or a shower, and the inability to afford tampons often creates a sense of shame. Blood is a health hazard, so people bleeding on public property is bad for everyone.

I implore you to take action as president to ensure that tampons are exempt from sales tax in order to advance women's equality in our nation.


Maya Crandall-Malcolm