Frequently Asked Questions
What is Tax Free. Period.?
Tax Free. Period. is a coordinated legal, advocacy and public engagement campaign led by Period Equity and LOLA to end the tampon tax in the U.S. and win this crucial fight for menstrual equity. We will leverage the tools of law and policy to mobilize legal action to challenge this discriminatory tax. With our respective resources and expertise, we’re taking the next critical step to eliminate the tampon tax in the remaining 35 states that charge it.
What is Period Equity?
Period Equity is the nation’s only law and policy organization fighting for menstrual equity—committed to ensuring that menstrual products are affordable, safe and available to those in need. Period Equity was founded by attorney and author Jennifer Weiss-Wolf and attorney Laura Strausfeld. Since they launched this national movement in 2015, dozens of states have introduced measures to eliminate the tax, and five have seen success—CT, FL, IL, NV, and NY - so far.
What is LOLA?
LOLA is the first lifelong brand for your body, offering women the transparency and candor they deserve when it comes to products and content for their reproductive health. LOLA aims to address every change a woman goes through during her lifetime, including the ones she doesn’t yet know about, with a commitment to ingredient transparency and candid conversation.
Why are LOLA and Period Equity partnering?
Period Equity is at the forefront of the legal fight for menstrual equity. LOLA is the reproductive health brand that asked women to question what’s in their tampons. As two upstart, female-founded, and women-led organizations, we’re joining forces to mobilize legal action and hold states accountable for discriminatory taxes against people with periods by leveraging our respective resources, expertise, and communities to eradicate the tampon tax.
Most states fail or refuse to make menstrual products sales tax-exempt. This unjust burden limits access to products that are basic necessities for more than half the population, and should be considered illegal. Together, we will elevate new arguments about why the tampon tax is not just an unfair economic burden, but an illegal and unconstitutional form of sex-based discrimination.
What is the tampon tax?
Most states in the U.S. do not tax items deemed necessities, yet in 35 states, there is still a sales tax applied to menstrual products. This discrimination against people with periods, for whom menstrual products are and should be considered basic, biological necessities, is unconstitutional. While we’ve seen states take steps to omit these products from a sales tax, we won't stop until every state in our country hears our voice and recognizes that menstrual products are necessities by exempting them from this antiquated tax.
Why should it be eradicated?
Challenging the tampon tax in the US is about much more than lifting a financial burden on people with periods. It is a way to call out laws that are archaic, unfair, and discriminatory. It helps us move toward a better model of economic parity and gender equity. And we believe it is a gateway for getting people to talk and think about the wider implications of menstruation—social, economic, and otherwise. As an issue that affects all people with periods, regardless of political party, we want to garner support from both sides of the aisle and from people across the United States, to have the most impact and drive real change.
Is the tampon tax the same thing as the pink tax?
The tampon tax refers specifically to the sales tax on menstrual products. The pink tax is a separate phenomenon referring to a gender-based price disparity for goods and services, with items that are marketed specifically towards women being inflated in price by approximately 7%, vs. products specifically marketed to men.
While we believe that any gender-based economic discrepancies are unfair, we’re leveraging our years of respective expertise in reproductive health to win the fight against the tampon tax, which is a pivotal example of the larger stigma that exists against women’s health.
What is menstrual equity?
Menstrual equity refers to equal access to menstrual hygiene products, coined by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf and the subject of her 2017 book. In order to have a fully equitable society, we must have laws and policies that take into account the reality that half the population menstruates. Menstrual products should be tax-exempt. They should be affordable and available for all, safe for our bodies and the planet. Periods should not hold anyone back, period.
How is this campaign going to help eradicate the tampon tax?
Recent legislative sessions have come to a close without any meaningful legislative change to eliminate the tampon tax. Given these shortcomings, we’re stepping in to mobilize legal action against this discriminatory state-sanctioned practice. Our goal is to make removing the tampon tax a non-negotiable by raising legal arguments that challenge its constitutionality.
We have conceptualized and built a novel legal and advocacy intervention. In mid-June 2019, we’ll launch with a coordinated media and message campaign that announces our partnership as the first step of many in our fight to eliminate the tampon tax, and put these remaining 35 states on notice. Major milestones will follow in the fall, as we announce coordinated, nationwide legal action, including the first ever “Tampon Tax LAB” (Legal Action Brainstorm)—a legal hackathon—at Columbia Law School in NYC.
Our aim is not only to mobilize legal action to end the tampon tax in the remaining 35 states that institute it, but also to shift the public argument, and pave the way for future legal claims that support further-reaching reproductive, menstrual, and gender equity reforms. Lifting the discriminatory tampon tax shouldn’t be a budgetary option, but a legal mandate.
Why hasn’t past legislative action been successful?
While past advocacy work has helped enormously to raise awareness around the unfairness of the tampon tax, we’re going a step forward to eradicate it once and for all, leveraging the tools of law and policy to win change.
What are LOLA and Period Equity doing differently?
We’re not just offering education or simply taking a stance. We are mobilizing legal action, building awareness, and rallying communities nationwide to challenge this discriminatory tax, and will leverage the tools of law and policy to win change.
How can people get involved/support the campaign?
Change starts with a dialogue that puts pressure on lawmakers to take notice and act. We’re creating a conversation around this discriminatory tax in order to generate significant legal change, and are asking supporters to join our advocacy coalition, with the goal of mobilizing 1MM supporters to end state-sanctioned discrimination of the tampon tax.