National Period Day
Equality for Menstruators
October 19th is the US’s first #NationalPeriodDay! Organized by Nadya Okamoto’s PERIOD, rallies will take place in all 50 states on the first ever National Period Day.
The rallies will raise the issue of period poverty (not having enough products to manage your menstruation) and demand change to make products more accessible- including ending the Tampon Tax.
1 in 4 women struggle to afford period products due to a lack of income. In the first city-wide study on period poverty, it was found that 46% of low-income women had to choose between a meal and period products. Because of the period stigma that makes menstruation a taboo topic, we don’t often think about what it’s like for a homeless or low-income menstruator to get their period, and don’t have open conversations about period health or solutions to period poverty.
Thirty-five US States still have a sales tax on period products considering them non-essential or luxury items. (Don’t worry though- furs are not taxed!) Because they are considered a “luxury good,” SNAP and other federal assistance programs do not allow menstruators to use food stamps to purchase pads or tampons.
I don’t know about you, but I have never been on my period and thought of a pad or tampon as a luxury. Some states and cities are moving to eliminate these taxes, which place an extra burden on menstruators (those products are expensive already)! The average menstruator spends roughly $300 a year on products. A 6-10% sales tax on items may not seem like much, but for many low-income menstruators, that’s the difference between managing a period and having enough to eat.
Many schools do not offer low-cost or free menstrual hygiene products in restrooms or through the clinic. For incarcerated menstruators, obstacles are increased; menstruators are charged high rates for lower quality products, or are given so few pads or tampons, they have to wear them for multiple days. This is demoralizing for menstruators, not to mention unhygienic and possibly unhealthy or even dangerous.
More often than not, trans and gender-non-conforming menstruators are erased from the conversation entirely, leading to obstacles about which toilet to use and how to seek medical help when needed.
The #NationalPeriodDay rally is just the beginning. PERIOD is kicking off a year-long campaign to demand policy change that mandates accessible period products in schools, shelters, and prisons, and an end to the tampon tax for good. PERIOD is also planning a collection drive and lobby days in 2020.
This is a year long campaign to nationally elevate the issue of period poverty with clear policy demands for freely accessible period products in schools, shelters, and prisons, and to eliminate the tampon tax in the remaining states. The campaign also includes a national collection drive for period products and lobby days in early 2020.
The PERIOD rallies are inclusive to all who support equality, whether you menstruate or not.
I can’t make the rally/there’s not one in my area.
You can still contribute! Sign the petition to end the tampon tax. You could also consider donating menstrual products to a local homeless or domestic violence shelter.
Follow along with the rallies by searching #NATIONALPERIODDAY and #PERIODPOWER. You can follow @periodmovement on Instagram.
The DC-area rally can be found at @period.dc.
How do I find a rally near me?