There’s a major double standard happening in our country, and five New York women are mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore. In a class action lawsuit filed against the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the five female plaintiffs claim that the state’s 4 percent sales tax on feminine hygiene products, like tampons and pads, are in direct violation of the Equal Protection clauses of the United States and New York State Constitution.
Part of their reasoning is that New York state offers a permanent tax exemption for products that are considered “medical necessities,” which means that dandruff shampoo, the anti-balding shampoo Rogaine, and Viagra can all be purchased tax-free. If you’ve noticed that all of those products are targeted towards men, well, you’re not alone. When asked by YouTube star Ingrid Nilsen why what’s become known as the “tampon tax” even exists, President Obama deadpanned, “I suspect it’s because men were making the laws.”
But if the plaintiffs, in what’s become known as Seibert v. New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, have their way, all women who’ve purchased tampons or pads in New York over the last two years will be eligible for a full tax refund. The lawsuit’s lead plaintiff is Broadway actor Margo Seibert, who told Cosmopolitan that she hopes her case encourages women in other states to tackle the tampon tax as well. “Menstruation products are essential and it is time to acknowledge that access shouldn’t depend on who can afford them,” she said. “It’s time to talk periods.”