Laura Willoughby, sophomore in psychology, is advocating for the removal of sales tax from menstrual products.
“The idea for this project came to mind early in the semester when I first learned about the ‘pink tax,” Willoughby said. “The pink tax is the tendency for products marketed at women to be more expensive than those for men, such as razors or shampoo.”
The project began as an assignment for a women’s studies course that Willoughby is enrolled in this semester.
“The class was given the project directions towards the beginning of the semester, so I did kick around a couple different ideas for what topic I wanted to focus on,” Willoughby said. “I wanted to do something that most women can relate to and that I thought had an attainable goal. If I’m being honest, I believe period products should be completely free, but I know our country has a long way to go before that will be possible. So, I thought focusing on the sales tax aspect of the issue would be more attainable.”
Menstrual cycles are different for everyone who experiences them however Willoughby says that it’s a struggle for her which is one reason she is advocating against taxes on such products.
“This project is important to me because as a woman I understand the burden a period has every month, and I don’t believe it is fair that there is a tax on a product used only by women,” Willoughby said.
For those who wish to help end the pink tax and bring awareness to the issue, there are several options available.
“There are a number of petitions that people can sign to help get the tampon tax removed,” Willoughby said. “Taxes are state dependent so calling or emailing the state legislatures is a very important step as well. Taxfreeperiod.com is an excellent website about current protests of the tampon tax. They will send you an email of exactly what to send your state legislatures, and all you have to do is copy and paste the message.”
While many have debated the pink tax, it is an issue that is not talked about as often as other prevalent issues in today’s society. Despite that, Willoughby hopes to raise more awareness. She also notes that removing the sales tax from women’s products can help financially as items such as tampons and pads are already relatively expensive.
“My goal for this project is to spread awareness of the issue,” Willoughby said. “It’s one that is easily overlooked, however the money saved if the tampon tax were to be removed could help women who are struggling to get by. I hope that people will start to see menstrual products as necessities and not luxuries.”
In a press release that she constructed, Martin noted that items such as tampons and other menstrual products are taxed as luxury items. On that note, Martin wrote, “An item that is absolutely necessary for women to function in daily life is not a luxury but a necessity.”
Willoughby went on to say, “The tampon tax is discriminatory against women and must be removed to ensure fairness and equality.”