Women in Nevada are celebrating a victory in the way of health equity this week after Nevada did away with the so-called “tampon tax.”
According to the New York Times, Nevada is now the tenth state to eliminate the tax on menstrual products, which poses a costly burden on women who struggle to afford these essential products every month. A few of the other states that have already gotten rid of the tax include New York, Florida, and Illinois.
This new legislation will mean that Nevada women can now forego the hefty 6.85 percent sales tax on feminine products that they will likely require for approximately 40 years of their life. While most hygiene products like shampoo, soap, and deodorant are taxed under state laws, items such as tampons and pads are now considered a medical necessity.
Kenya was the first nation to cut their tax on feminine products in 2004, due to the fact that much of their population was having to do without these necessities because of their high cost. Millions of Kenyan girls couldn’t afford these products because their limited funds were dedicated to survival necessities like food. Canada was the next country to drop the tax in 2015, while Malaysia, India, and Australia shortly followed.
Some U.S. states have yet to realize that these products are essential and not an optional purchase for women. Many have begun to wonder why there is no tax on food or medication due to these products being a necessity, and yet feminine tax continues in much of the country.
There are states such as Utah that have decided to continue their tax on menstrual products. The basis of their decision was that legislators didn’t want to pick and choose what products were taxed. However, Utah does make a tax exception for other far less necessary items such as arcade tokens. Meanwhile, the state of Texas has removed the tax from an assortment of items of varying value. While Texan women will be required to pay tax on menstrual products each month, they will not have to pay a tax on cowboy boots.
Jennifer Weiss-Wolfe, author of 2017 book “Periods Gone Public”, calls the elimination of the tampon tax a long-overdue win for health equality.
“Women have come to accept that every aspect of our periods are our own secret problem, and we are making other people uncomfortable if we raise it,” Ms. Weiss-Wolf said.
“But the truth is raising the issue of menstrual equity hasn’t made legislators very uncomfortable at all.”