The title says it all. Feminine products like pads and tampons should be free of charge. Women should not be charged for something they do not have a choice in nor should they be charged for going through a natural process of life. It is unethical to profit off of women by reducing their access to basic care.
In 2021, consumer prices surged 6.2 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices keep increasing while wages lag behind. This means feminine products are becoming increasingly unaffordable for women who aren’t earning enough, and those who struggle to obtain feminine products will have to resort to unhygienic solutions to take care of themselves. Women should not have to come to this point and worry about affording these things on top of the hormonal changes that they experience during their cycle.
Emotional distress, anxiety, and physical pain are all common symptoms of menstruation. It is not an enjoyable time for women, yet we are actively being used for profit while already experiencing uncomfortable symptoms. We buy the products we need, wincing and groaning at the price tag; we are forced to pay the price for being a woman.
In the U.S., women spend on average $1,773 on tampons, $443.33 on panty liners, and $4,752 on pads in their lifetime. Of course, these are not exact numbers, but if such products were free, we would be helping women save a significant amount of money. Women are already paid less than men in most industries, so it’s nonsensical to expect women to pay for the care they inherently need. However, I also want to point out that even if women earned more than men, these products should still be free because periods are not a choice and it’ll still save us thousands of dollars.
When feminine products are not equally accessible, it makes obtaining these products a luxury. Another punch in the gut, on top of having to pay for it, there’s also a tax for it. The consequences women face are blatantly avoidable. The economic burden can lead to women missing work or even school simply because they cannot get the products they need.
In 2020, Scotland became the first country to make menstrual products free. Scotland’s overall GDP is $205 billion and the U.S.’s overall GDP is $20936.60 billion. The U.S. has a higher GDP growth than Scotland. So, why couldn’t the U.S. afford to do it? The leading argument is the difference in population between these two countries. However, let’s talk about spending power. I won’t go on about the economics of it, but it is a pretty safe bet that the U.S. has greater spending power than Scotland. So, with all of this considered, could making feminine products free be a possibility at all?
The sale of feminine products is a profitable business, but humanity should not profit at the expense of women. Period poverty is real, and with the U.S. being one of the wealthiest nations, it is insane to think how difficult it can be for women to access feminine products.