Women's healthcare always seems to be a hot topic, and it's become even more so since the presidential election. Everbody has a strong opinion on who should have the right to birth control, abortion and…tampons? Yes, pads and tampons are a political issue, too—Did you know that these items come with a luxury tax? Yes, you pay extra for pads and tampons because they're classified as a luxury. But two women from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles are fighting to change that.
Loyola Marymount communications students Emily Campbell, 20, and Maddy Jones, 22, are raising awareness on the tampon tax both on their campus and on a larger level. The two started their campaign as a project for their Rhetoric of Social Movements class.
“We both wanted to do something that was attending to women’s rights and justice for women,” Campbell, a senior from Portland, Ore., said. “It was actually Maddy’s idea to look into the tampon tax, and I didn’t really even know that much about it. I’ve heard about it and was interested in it, but I’ve never really looked into it. This was an opportunity to look deeper into it. And it kind of just took off from there.”
The campaign includes a GoFundMe page, which has raised $210 of its $500 goal. All of the proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward the purchase of feminine hygiene products for the Downtown Women's Center in Los Angeles, which provides homeless women with housing, health services and an opportunity for success. Campbell and Jones have also held drives outside of local grocery stores, where they ask customers to either donate money, or purchase pads and tampons at the store to donate. They’re also thinking about reaching out to a representative in their area who has an interest in the tampon tax.
The two believe that the tampon tax is an issue that matters to more than just college women.
“It’s an issue that all women should care about,” Campbell said. “And it’s an issue college women should care about because right now we are in a time when things aren’t necessarily going well in our government and in our country. Millennials: it’s our time to take charge and make a difference in the world.
“Periods are not a choice," she continued. "That’s not something we choose. All women need to attend to this because all women have to buy these products. And they’re already expensive, and some women already can’t afford them. So taxing tampons and considering it a luxury is not okay.”
Campbell and Jones started this project before the election, and admit that the election results were not what they expected or hoped for.
“We had a positive attitude at the beginning. We thought our next president was going to be female,” Campbell said. “But the election kind of downed our spirits. But it’s all the more reason to be advocates.”
Women across the country can help advocate for this issue, Campbell said. Simply starting the conversation—Campbell’s mom didn’t even know about the tampon tax before her daughter’s project started—and getting educated is an important first step. Because not everyone is able to donate or hold drives, it’s important to do what you can, which includes talking with those around you, signing petitions and contacting local representatives.
So far, the campaign has gotten a positive response. Everyone around Campbell and Jones has loved it, including friends, family, peers and professors—even though LMU is generally a more conservative campus. Campbell noted that a lot of people knew nothing about the tax, and being able to tell people and make them aware of this issue was important to her.
You can donate to Campbell and Jones’ #AxTheTax GoFundMe page here, and they also ask that you consider signing petitions that recognize the need to remove the tampon tax both federally and statewide.