For years, several nations have been involved in heated debate regarding the taxation of tampons and other female sanitation products. The issue was brought to the public’s attention once again on Tuesday, Sept. 13 after California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the Assembly Bill 1561, which attempted to terminate the luxury tax on menstrual amenities.
To combat the negative reaction of the public, specifically women, Brown justifies that the bill belongs to a collection of bills which are a necessary source of state funding. “The seven bills would have cut state revenue by around $300 million over the next two years” Brown said.
Despite his intentions, the two sponsors of the anti-tampon taxation bill were not appeased. Cristina Garcia and Ling Ling Chang have been advocates for the elimination of this taxation since January of 2016. After Brown’s rejection, they have spoken out about the sexism plaguing this issue.
“Saying that the measure should have been put in the budget is just side-stepping the fact that we shouldn’t be balancing the budget off half of the population,” Chang said.
“Basically we are being taxed for being women,” Garcia said. “Women have no choice but to buy these products, so the economic effect is only felt by women… You can’t just ignore your period, it’s not like you can just ignore the constant flow.”
While Canada has eliminated the tax, and English Parliament is in active conversation about ending its female-targeted bill, the U.S. still carries out the tax in 42 states. American women, men, and organizations alike have taken action to protest the tax that they feel is unjust.
Two weeks ago, Brown University took passive protest by offering free tampons and pads in women’s bathrooms. Twitter is ablaze with strongly worded posts berating the tax. Rewire News tweeted: “Jerry Brown please mansplain why it’s okay to balance the budget on women’s backs?” Metro Newspaper tweeted: “Tampons in California are considered a ‘luxury’ to be taxed, but movie tickets and candy bars are exempt.”
The period plight which many women feel they are subjected to can be summed up by the words of a few UK protesters: “No uterus, no opinion”.