More States Are Pushing to Get Rid of That Pesky Tampon Tax

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It’s no secret that raising kids is a pricey endeavor. But as most parents can attest, little girls tend to edge out the competition in the financial expense department — from their clothes right on down to their toys. So it may come as no surprise then when those pricey little girls grow up to be expensive women … right?

The thing is, what we don’t often acknowledge is that it’s the market that has doomed them from the start. And a new study is backing that one up, big time.

“[Women] do not have control over the textiles or ingredients used in the products marketed to them and must make purchasing choices based only on what is available in the marketplace,” say the authors of a recent study conducted by the New York Consumer Affairs. In what is now being called the “Pink Tax,” it was found that female products cost 7% more than their male counterparts.

And as Business Insider reports, when you dig deeper into basic hygiene products that are considered crucial for everyday use, the cost difference is astronomical.

Case in point: Women’s shampoo and conditioner cost 48% percent more than the same products that are marketed to men. And while some could argue that it’s because women’s haircare products offer a higher quality than men’s, what about all the other products that have no reasonable basis for costing more?

For instance, female targeted razors and lotion both ring in at 11% more than those made for men. Even women’s deodorant costs on average 3% more than men’s deodorant, which makes no sense at all when you think about it, considering men tend to sweat more than women. Jeans come in at 10% more, and even socks at 3% more.

The bottom line is, none of it makes any sense — except to clearly indicate that women really are at an unfair advantage in a targeted market. Which is why it’s about time that states stop taxing women on the products they have no choice but to pay for. Especially products such as tampons.

I mean really, in a nation where prescription meds like Viagra aren’t taxed, why are we taxing our women for tampons? Do men need Viagra more than women need tampons? Of course not; that would be absurd.

Thankfully, nine states including Florida, New York, Connecticut, and Illinois have all officially excluded menstrual products from their sales tax since last year, but now, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Nevada are among the seven others who are currently pushing to do the same. That’s nine states that have realized that being a woman shouldn’t automatically mean it’s more expensive just to exist.

An existence which can already be a very real struggle for some women, without the added burden of being taxed just for having a normally functioning body.

“If I have to make a choice between feeding my kids, and taking care of myself, I’m always going to choose my kids,” says one Illinois mother, who lives in a transitional housing program through a local domestic violence shelter.

“I know that it’s only a few bucks, but when those few dollars are all that I have to last for the next two days … ” she tells Babble, before her voice trails off. “Let’s just say that I’ve been humiliated more than once for not being able to afford what I needed, but if it kept my kids fed, I guess it was worth it.”

The question of whether it’s “worth it” is exactly what lawmakers have been debating over the last few years, as states vote on legislation to either end, or keep taxing feminine hygiene products; a market that in California alone, brings in upwards of $20 million dollars a year in taxes.

“I just want people to realize this is not insignificant, especially if you’re on a tight budget,” said California assembly woman Christina Garcia, when speaking with the Washington Post. Garcia herself lobbied to end the tax in her own home state.

“If we can’t make them free we should at least make them more affordable,” Garcia later added in a Facebook post. “Having your period when [you’re] poor means that once a month you have the added stress of finding a way to pay for these essentials.”

I’m happy to see that states are starting to take this issue seriously, because for many women, existing in an equal world, is a serious issue.

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