CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — A 17 year old wants every state in the U.S. to abolish the sales tax still placed on purchases of feminine hygiene products. She wanted to bring awareness to this with a project she completed for Girl Scouts, in which she received the highest honor for.
The “Tampon Tax” refers to the fact that while women who have menstrual cycles need tampons and pads, these items are still being taxed with a sales tax as if they are non-necessities.
Emma Barton-Norris from Cedar Rapids says that while these items are still being taxed as luxury items it makes women feel like their menstrual cycles are not normal and that these products are not necessary.
“I feel like it almost dis-empowers females being able to afford to survive basically because as a woman and as someone who has experienced menstruation and everything that comes with being a woman, you expect to be able to afford necessities.”
She did not just want to make a change in this issue by word of mouth, she wanted to make a physical difference with her project.
“One thing was specifically the tampon drive, and feminine hygiene drive at my high school and also in the community and then donate it here at Catherine McAuley.”
Selah Ulmar from the Catherine McAuley Center says Emma’s donations were so appreciated, as many women that come there for help cannot afford feminine hygiene products.
“Donations are always accepted they are always needed and we are seriously so thankful for people like Emma.”
Barton-Norris also sat down with a Senator to find out why the tampon sales tax is still in place in Iowa.
“I really talked to especially Rob Hogg about this and he kind of explained to me why some politicians would rather not put it into a bill or why some would eliminate it from a bill.”
The 17 year old also gathered some of her female peers together to write letters to local government representatives about how the “Tampon Tax” has affected them. They hope this will make a change in the tax in Iowa.
While Barton-Norris says she knows she cannot make a change over night, she at least wanted to start a conversation about the women’s health issue.
Right now only 14 out of the 50 states have eliminated the sales tax on feminine hygiene products, with 5 of those states not having a sales tax at all.