Students at the Ohio State University stood with local and state lawmakers urging an end to what is commonly called the Pink Tax.
Right now, feminine hygiene products are considered taxable luxury items. Students say they shouldn’t be classified that way and want what they call unfair taxation of them to end.
Members of PERIOD, a student organization on the OSU campus, say not using feminine hygiene products consistently and correctly could lead to cancer or death; and yet those products are still considered a luxury here in Ohio.
“It’s really shocking to believe something that’s used so widely and consistently by the population is regarded as a luxury,” said Anusha Singh, president of PERIOD at OSU.
In Ohio tampons and pads are taxed at the same rate as televisions.
“TV’s and tampons are very different things; TV’s are actually a luxury, tampons are not,” said Bakshin Kaur, vice president of PERIOD at OSU.
“It definitely adds up and if you think of it on a yearly basis and then over your lifetime; it’s a lot of money,” said Daria Kuperberg, secretary for PERIOD at OSU
Over their lifetime Ohio women will spend an estimated $11,000 on tampons alone, according to State Representative Brigid Kelly.
This issue is being fought by women and men. Ameer Abdulrahman is the organization’s student advisor.
“I began to realize that it’s really more than just about providing menstrual products in bathrooms and removing the tampon tax, but it’s more about gender equality,” said Abdulrahman.
The group says the lack of taxation of some men’s products like Viagra is unfair, especially when women don’t get to choose if or when they menstruate.
“Menstruation is a biological process; none of us would be here without it,” said Kaur.
Last General Assembly the Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill that included an amendment that removed the tax on feminine hygiene products.
The bill failed to move in the Ohio Senate and died at the end of 2018.
Lawmakers are hoping to finally get the measure fully passed into law by bringing it back again this year.
Representative Kelly says she has been joined by State Representative Niraj Antani to pick up the bill and push it through the House.
Meanwhile an increase in female State Senators gives supporters of the bill hope that this time it will get significant consideration.
Meanwhile, on the Ohio State University campus, many but not all buildings have begun offering free feminine hygiene products.
About a year ago, the undergraduate student body government started a pilot program that has expanded across many campus buildings.
Julia Dennen, director of governmental relations for the student government at Ohio State University, says talks continue to be held about expanding the program into the residence halls and for adding products to the Campus Convenience stores as well.
Dennen says, more than 4,000 products were dispensed at the Ohio Union alone, last year.
When asked if there were concerns about the cost of the program, she said she didn’t feel it was too high of a cost.
“It’s easy; budget for toilet paper, budget for tampons.”