Taxes are a part of our country’s economic system and are just a fact of life. To quote a line from “Avenue Q,” one of my favorite musicals: “Except for death and paying taxes, everything in life is only for now.”
At the time of our country’s founding, the tax on tea was what everyone was talking about. The Tea Act implemented a tax tea purchased by the British colonies. As a form of protest, a bunch of colonists boarded ships in the Boston Harbor and threw the tea overboard. The point of this anecdote is that taxes have always been a problem. But who dictates why some things are taxed more than other things?
In my previous example about the tea tax, tea was considered a luxury item, so the government put a tax on it. But what about today? According to Upworthy, 40 out of 50 states today consider sanitary items such as tampons to be a luxury item. Apparently, the tax is also referred to as the “sin tax” in some states. Whoa.
Now correct me if I am wrong, but as a woman, I do not really view my time of the month as a luxury. If anything, it is a nuisance. This tax, which differs from state to state, adds up over time, which creates a hefty financial burden for many women.
According to The Huffington Post, women’s products are taxed significantly higher than men’s items. A tampon-wearing woman will spend approximately $1,773 on tampons throughout her lifetime, excluding the tax. So including the tax, it would be more than $2,000.
What does this say about gender inequality in our country, that men’s products are significantly cheaper? What about the fact that an item that is not a luxury, but a necessity for women, is being taxed? Is this indicative of our society? What does this say about the country and companies’ opinions of women?
Well, here is a big thank you to the state of Utah, which released a new bill in the Utah State Legislature, creating tax exemptions for not only tampons, but also for diapers, maxi pads and other feminine products.
“Hygiene is a human right. Men and women should not be taxed for those things that are medically necessary,” Utah Rep. Susan Duckworth (D-Magna) told FOX 13 in Salt Lake City.
Duckworth also added that this tax exemption would help customers save at least $30 a year, and while that does not seem like a lot, it can add up to a lot of savings over the years.
Rock on, Utah. Thank you for taking a stand and becoming the 11th state to institute this change. I do not think this is something that is being talked about in the news because, frankly, it is not pressing and can easily be overlooked. I challenge us to not only recognize this problem and try to change it, but to notice more problems like it. Inequality problems don’t only exist among women, but also minorities, majorities and people alike. It is time for us to be equal, free and happy. Because that is what the United States and freedom is all about.