Tampons and Pads Will Be Free in New York City Schools and Prisons

Tampon (Lydia's Lunchbox)

Tampon (Lydia’s Lunchbox)

Last year, the New York City council voted in favor of providing free tampons and pads to women in public schools, shelters and correctional facilities. The measure passed unanimously, and the program will be the first of its kind.

It’s expected that the city will spend $2.4M for menstrual supplies across the public facilities. Within shelters, an estimated “2 million tampons and 3.5 million pads” will be distributed for the 23K women, costing $540K annually.

Here’s how it would work for public schools:

Dispensers will be installed in the girls’ bathrooms at 800 schools, reaching 300,000 students at an initial cost of $3.7 million and $1.9 million annually thereafter.

The bill was created by New York City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. Regarding why the bill was important, Ferreras-Copeland said, “Menstrual hygiene products are as necessary as toilet paper and should be treated as basic bathroom supplies.”

There’s also the fact that menstrual products are a necessary expense for women of childbearing age. This expense, which has been dubbed the “tampon tax” (though it refers to all types of menstrual products), takes a chunk (around $100 per year) out of women’s already diminished paychecks. Lately, there’s been some pushback on this price of being female-bodied: Last year, five women sued the state of New York to abolish the tampon tax.

No word on when the bill will become law, and the program can begin.

Five Women File Class Action Suit to Lift New York’s Tampon Tax

Tampon (Salon)

Tampon (Salon)

Did you know that a tampon tax exists? No? A lot of people don’t. Thankfully, that’s about to change.

The “tampon tax” is a sales tax applied to feminine hygiene needs (tampons and pads). Many states have one in place, and it’s been proven to really add up over time (especially since the average women menstruates for around 37 years).

Right now, women aren’t going to take it any more. Five women in New York have filed a class-action lawsuit against commissioner Jerry Boone and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Their stance is that feminine hygiene products aren’t classified as medical use, and so are relegated to the 4% sales tax.

The lawsuit also models the amount of money women are spending through this tax:

According to the lawsuit, women spend on average more than $70 a year on tampons and pads, and women who menstruate constitute more than one-quarter of New York state’s 20 million population. The plaintiffs estimate that the state collects around $14 million in taxes by imposing a four percent sales tax on tampons and pads, less than one-hundredth of one percent of the state’s annual budget of $142 billion.

And the five women bringing the lawsuit aren’t the only ones who think the tax should be outlawed:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday that the tax should be repealed. Earlier this year, Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced a bill seeking to end the state’s taxation on tampons and pads.

It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes to affect change in this area.