Donned in their brightest red coats, a small group of women gathered in town square on Saturday for the first ever National Period Day. They passed out pads and tampons and talked to dozens of passersby about period poverty. That’s a term that may be new to a lot of folks, but it’s not a new problem. It refers to young people and adults who can’t afford period products. The consequences are far-reaching.
“In the U.S. approximately one in five girls misses school for lack of period products,” said Teton County Commissioner Natalia D. Macker. “That information blew my mind.”
Macker was among the red-clad women on town square Saturday. She said deepening the difficulties that people face affording period products is the so-called tampon tax. When you think of pads and tampons, you probably don’t think of “luxury items.” But that is exactly how 34 states, including Wyoming, treat period products. That means those products are taxable at grocery stores. What’s more, low-income families who rely on government assistance at the grocery store can’t use those benefits to buy period products.
As part of local efforts underway to combat period poverty, people who need period products can find local distribution sites here.
Listen above for the full conversation.
(Photo courtesy Melinda Binks.)