It’s still cold out, but the menstrual equity movement is keeping the heat on. It’s simply ridiculous in 2019 that people that menstruate still struggle to access supplies, pay taxes on basic necessities and navigate an industry that keeps secret basic information, like exactly what is in a tampon.
So what’s the latest? Let us catch you up.
Period poverty is real, y’all. In 2018, Canada’s Global News reported that one-third of all Canadian menstruators under the age of 25 can’t afford to buy what they need for their periods. We discussed how you can’t have a period on welfare in BC. It’s not much better in the United States or the UK, FYI - and an attempt to ditch the tampon tax in California failed.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Nevada and Ohio ditched their taxes on period products, making it just fourteen states where you can bleed tax-free. U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren stood up for incarcerated menstruators, helping them access dignity as well as menstrual supplies. It’s still not enough, but one step at a time. Canadians - raise your glasses to four years of being tampon tax free!
Congresswoman Grace Meng of the 6th District is a leader in the menstrual equity space, most recently leading Congressional efforts to ensure adequate period protection for federal inmates. Definitely join her newsletter if you’re looking to keep up to date on legislation to enforce transparency in period products (ie. what harsh chemicals are in your tampon?).
In the New York Assembly, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal is re-introducing legislation to require that box packaging for menstrual products to disclose the contents of pads or tampons. Rosenthal called out Kotex in December during a product recall (ie. U by Kotex tampons just started falling apart in vaginas).
How Can I Help?
If you live in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, and cannot believe that you’re still paying a tampon tax in 2019, reach out to Jennifer Weiss-Wolf’s organization, Period Equity. They’re organizing legislative and legal challenges to ensure menstrual justice.
Regardless of where you live, organize against period poverty. One place to start is by contacting changemaking organizations like PERIOD, the Period Purse and Femme International. They organize opportunities to get informed and then take action in your local community.Lastly, normalize periods. They’re not shameful or dirty - they’re a natural result of having a uterus. The problem is rooted in misogyny - where the menstrual taboo results in real dangers for those who have periods. The work of feminism is to support everyone in getting the medical care and self care that they need.