Listen up other states: New York is ending the tampon tax

There are a lot of things women pay more for simply because they’re women, whether that be shampoo, deodorant, or hair products. But that will no longer be the case — at least as far as tampons  and other feminine hygiene products are concerned — in New York State.

Last week, the New York State Legislature finally passed a long-awaited bill that exempts tampons and other menstrual hygiene products from a sales tax, which up until recently tacked a four percent penalty, so to speak, on feminine hygiene products. Consider this: A box of tampons that used to cost $8 will now cost 0.32 cents less. That doesn’t sound like much, but if you count all the boxes of tampons a woman purchases between her first period and menopause, it really adds up. The reason this tax existed in the first place is became feminine hygiene products are considered “luxury” items. Any person who has ever had a period knows, pads and tampons aren’t luxury items, they’re necessities. 

“Women have been paying this sexist tax on their bodies for far too long,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement.

The bill, which is set to go into effect as early as September, also covers menstrual products that haven’t even been invented yet, you know, just in case. That means it will effectively put an end to this issue once and for all. Meanwhile, the New York City Council is still working to make tampons and pads completely free for girls and women in public facilities like prisons, schools, and homeless shelters, in a bid to free them from the embarrassment of going without or going too long between changes during the most stressful part of their month.

It’s only a matter of time before access to these critical feminine hygiene products is no longer a privilege, but a right.