By Tabitha Barr
Opinion Page Editor
According to “Listen Money Matters”, a podcast by Candice Elliott, women are paying 42 percent more overall than men on everyday purchases.
This means that women pay on average $1,351 more a year in extra costs, and it’s all apart of the Pink Tax. The Pink Tax is the label for how women are paying more than men on everyday products and services. Necessities that women need are being jacked up in price just because they are for females, including feminine hygiene products being taxed because they are considered a “luxury.”
Quoting one of the most famous television shows from the 1990s, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. character Rachel Green stated, “No uterus, no opinion.” That unforgettable line showcases the viewpoint for most females on feminine products. Tampons and pads are essential for women and shouldn’t be taxed as an unimportant item. Unless women are expected to bleed without protection in public, or to stay home while they are on their period, these hygiene products are essential to a woman’s lifestyle.
Companies have charged women more for many years. Not only overtaxing tampons and pads, but charging more on clothing, accessories, self-care items, toys and services that are required in life. Why is it that businesses can legally charge women increasingly more than men just because of the difference in gender?
According to the article “Why is the US ‘tampon tax’ so hated?” by BBC News, “American consumers spent $3.1 (billion) on tampons and other feminine hygiene products last year.” This number represents women in all 50 states.
The average sales tax is 6.25 percent, but in some states, the tax can be as much as 10.25 percent. That means that if the government was to remove all sales tax from feminine hygiene products, American women could save $10 million a year. This estimate is only for hygiene products, so when the overpricing of other women’s products is added, the number is even higher.
Most women can pay for their feminine hygiene products, but others are not so lucky. In some parts of the country, women cannot afford to buy tampons or pads for themselves or their daughters. This causes women to miss out on school, work and social activities when they are on their period.
America isn’t the only one affected by this, as women in other countries are facing similar dilemmas. The Pink Tax is causing women to have less of an education and less of a life.
According to an interview in The Washington Post with Cristina Garcia, a Democrat in the California State Assembly who is an advocate of getting rid of the Pink Tax, proposed a bill that would put an end to the ‘tampon tax’ in California.
“I just want people to realize this is not insignificant … especially if you’re on a tight budget,” Garcia told The Post.
According to Independent News, this bill was put to an end and was turned down by Governor Jerry Brown because, their budget couldn’t withstand the loss of no tax on tampons and pads.
If this bill was passed in all 50 states, it could help women with the problems that have arrived without it.
Melissa Loepp, a Hutchinson High School teacher who graduated in women’s studies, isn’t a fan of the Pink Tax.
“The Pink Tax should be abolished, but (she) wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t,” Loepp said. “While I do think the tax is problematic, women face a number of larger issues and the Pink Tax often gets overlooked.”
An argument against the Pink Tax is that women’s feminine hygiene products should be taxed because it is a citizens’ product and should be charged just like any other. The argument is correct in saying it is a product for citizens, but not all citizen products are taxed.
As stated by National Public Radio, written by Jordan Gass-Poore’, in 49 out of the 50 states, Viagra is not taxed. This drug is to treat erectile dysfunction for men. But when it comes to tampons and pads, only 11 out of the 50 states have them tax-exempt. Viagra is only needed for sexual purposes, but tampons and pads are needed because women’s bodies are created to have periods. Generally, those who think the Pink Tax is fake, usually think that women who fight against it are “femi-nazis”. That is today’s term for a feminist who is supposedly taking the movement too far. However, Loepp retalied by saying, “If me pushing personally and politically for women’s rights earns me the femi-nazi label, I’ll take it. Those deploying the label are typically ignorant with baseless claims.”
The Pink Tax is a real problem that women in our nation are fighting against. We are a nation based on equal and fair opportunity, yet this is still such an obstacle to overcome. Empowering women all over the world are battling this with factual evidence and a growing respect. Women’s bodies are created to be equal with men’s, and should be treated as such. The obliteration of the Pink Tax, can do exactly that.