What do we want? Menstrual equity. When do we want it? NOW! If you weren’t aware, in recent years, the menstruation cycle has come to the forefront of politics. With NPR dubbing 2015 as “the year of the period,” many issues have been arising with how the world views and how the world manages the menstrual cycle of women. There’s a chance that you might not be aware of what menstrual equity is, but once we tell you, there’s an even bigger chance of you supporting it!
After being forced to experience your period and often the symptoms that go alongside it, you’d definitely agree that having your period is not a luxury. While this would be true for most women, much of the world doesn’t view it this way. Menstrual equity is a multi-faceted solution for women all around the world.
At the basis of menstrual equity, the first solution is to destigmatize the menstrual cycle. During the campaign for the 2016 presidential election, current President Donald Trump associated debate host Megyn Kelly’s aggressive questioning as a “side effect” to having her period with his “there was blood coming out of her wherever” comment.
Still to this day, you’ll hear people afraid to use words like period and tampons. It is this stigma that causes women to deal with the medical inequality of coping with their period. While the taboo behind the menstrual cycle seems particularly frustrating, it all comes down to one thing – the money.
If you wanted to get technical, your menstrual cycle could be described as a syndrome with its definition being “a set of signs and symptoms that appear together and characterize a medical condition.” When you think about all the signs for your period, it could surely fall into this category. Looking more deeply into it, most medications and medical products are tax exempt, but why aren’t feminine hygiene products?
Women can choose between pads, tampons, and menstrual cups, and in more recent years, we have seen the rise of period panties like PantyProp. While they might have the option to choose what product they use, they can’t choose whether or not to pay what many people have dubbed the “Pink Tax.”
In most of the countries in the United States, you’ll find the “Pink Tax” on feminine hygiene products. If you live in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, or Oregon, you can rejoice because these states don’t have sales tax on any of their products. While you could still appreciate this, a lot of credit must go to Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Even though all five of these states have sales tax, they have feminine hygiene products tax-exempt in their states.
When you hear outcries about inequality, you’ll often hear the argument that the underdog wants the advantage. As women, we just want what’s fair. While women are forced to take the brunt of taxes on their products, it would be easier to find Rogaine and Viagra, products catered to men, tax-free.
A tax on feminine hygiene products is an unfair tax on half the population, and hopefully, this comes to an end. And hopefully, it’s in sight. In 2017, the Menstrual Equality for All Act was introduced to Congress, so let’s hope the lawmakers stand on the side of women and bring menstrual equity!