The Pink Tax and Poverty

As a menstruating cisgender woman, I can confidently say that I hate getting my period. It is simply just not a good time all around. It is not something I asked for, just a normal bodily function, so why am I taxed for something I cannot control? 

The Pink Tax, although not an official government tax, is a form of gender discrimination by charging more for women’s products like tampons, pads, feminine care, etc than products for men. This article I found by Marca, talks about how several states have gotten rid of laws that promote gender based price discrimination because the government does not benefit profit wise from these pink products. However, the federal government hasn’t made an effort to get rid of these taxes either…kinda weird considering it does not benefit them at all.  

All of this got me thinking about menstruating people who are in poverty. I have the privilege of dealing with my period in bed, with a heating pad and lots of chocolate. And it still sucks! I can’t even imagine not having that security and privacy and it honestly breaks my heart. 

“ If you’re a woman (or a trans man, or anyone who menstruates) living on the streets, getting your period is more than just a hassle — it’s a matter of comfort, cleanliness, and dignity.”

According to Bustle, there are 50,000 women on the street who have limited access to feminine care and either have to wait for outreach crews to supply them with feminine products or have to get creative and use alternative products like socks in order to maintain their hygiene. A lot of public institutions like homeless shelters or jails have supplies but a lot of women choose to stay on the streets and would rather use what little money they have to buy the necessities. This is mostly because the products in these institutions are often very cheap and uncomfortable to use. I’ve noticed that even in public restrooms that have tampons or pad dispensers, those products often feel like cardboard and are painful. With things like Toxic Shock Syndrome existing, these women feel safer just using their spare change on better quality care. 

At JMU, there is an organization called Days for Girls that started in 2019 that educates students about menstruation and practicing sustainability while menstruating. They mostly advocate for ending the stigma around periods and making period kits for underdeveloped countries where there is a lot of poverty or lack of resources. I wanted to bring this organization up because they also do local healthcare drives in the Harrisonburg area, handing out feminine care products to those who need it.

It is already unfair for there to be a pink tax on these feminine care products, but it is even worse knowing that there are women who sacrifice a meal in order to purchase these ridiculously priced products for a bodily function we cannot control. I think the federal government needs to start introducing laws to get rid of the pink tax altogether so that prices for these products will be more manageable for ALL menstruating people.

We also need to take away the taboo of periods and advocate for better menstrual care because over 16 million people in the United States alone get their period. Periods are normal, PERIOD!

One thought on “The Pink Tax and Poverty

  1. This is such an important topic that I feel is often overlooked by so many people. Very well written and focused! Thanks for sharing this!


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