CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – For years now, advocacy groups have fought to get rid of the so-called “Tampon Tax” saying that a sales tax on period supplies places an unequal burden on people who menstruate.
This month CVS announced a plan to make period supplies more affordable.
“If I am struggling to make ends meet and struggling to put food in my kids mouths, this is the last thing I’m going to purchase on my grocery list,” said Kerri Cooper, Community Impact Director at the United Way of Central West Virginia, as she gestured to a bag of feminine hygiene products.
She says she tries to keep feminine hygiene supplies handy for when women come in and ask for them. She said access to those products is a financial struggle for many women in the community.
“They are not all experiencing homelessness. They are everyday moms just like me and everybody else,” Cooper said.
To help address the problem, CVS is reducing the cost of store brand period products by 25%. They have also started paying the sales tax for period products on the customer’s behalf in 12 states, including West Virginia, a state that still has a Tampon Tax.
“Individuals have reported that when they don’t have the access to these menstrual products they are using substitute products like newspapers and old t-shirts and rags and socks and that also has a health implication,” said Jennifer Gaines, Program Director at the Alliance for Period Supplies.
The move is a win for advocates like the Alliance for Period Supplies who work nationally to make sure women living in poverty don’t have to suffer.
“It makes them sad and embarrassed and feeling guilt because they are not able to access these products because they are living in poverty or lower income families,” Gaines said.
According to the group, as many as one third of low-income women report missing work, school or other commitments due to lack of access to period supplies.