Should tampons be tax free?

Editor’s Note: Dasha Burns is a writer and works as a strategist and creative content producer at Oliver Global, a consulting agency where she focuses on leveraging media and digital technology for global development. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Story highlights

Dasha Burns: Some women's products are routinely priced higher than men's. Tampons are taxed, when products like Rogaine are not

A lawsuit in New York aims to add state to the 5 that don't tax tampons. She says to do otherwise helps institutionalize discrimination

CNN  — 

I use men’s deodorant. Why? Because beyond the fact that I secretly love the smell of Old Spice Pure Sport, I refuse to pay a higher price for nothing more than marketing to my “lady senses.” Before you brush me off as cheap or overdramatic, consider this: Gender-based pricing means women pay on average $1,351 more per year for the same products than men do.

Beyond products, women are also routinely charged more than men for the same services. I was aghast when I compared my dry-cleaning bill to my boyfriend’s, considering several of our shirts are basically identical. (Just realizing we might be turning into one of those couples that look the same – an issue for another time).

Dasha Burns

While these examples are infuriating and burdensom e– they’re mostly frustrating inconveniences, possible to circumvent if you really try. You could take a page out of my book and replace some of your more expensive female-focused products with a men’s equivalent, or stop buying clothes that require dry cleaning.

But one thing women can’t change, period, is – well – their period. This monthly event requires that we buy products, like tampons and sanitary pads, for which there is no cheaper male equivalent. We can’t exactly decide to stop buying them and continue like it’s business as usual while our bodies ruin our dry-clean-only pants.

But in most states, these products come with a sales tax. That may seem perfectly acceptable, considering most of us expect a sales tax when we shop and don’t look too closely at our state tax codes.