According to Mamamia, an independent Australian website focusing on women’s issues, women spend about 120 dollars a year on tampons and sanitary napkins alone every year. This is for a single woman. In my household, where we have three menstruating women, this would be 360 dollars and for the four girls living in my door room, this would be 480 dollars if we never share with anyone and we have relatively moderate periods. This doesn’t account for women who may have heavier menstrual periods or the times when we forget a tampon at home and have to ask a friend for one—it’s happened to the best of us. But even then, this is a lot of money. I know that when I get my paycheck from one job here on campus, I could only afford to buy pads and tampons for a year and have 60 dollars left over to take care of myself.
Even though this number does seem somewhat small for a year’s supply of tampons and pads, these should be free because they can be expensive for a woman who cannot spare 120 dollars a year for menstrual pads just for herself, let alone any daughters she has. These are also a basic method of keeping ourselves and frankly our environments clean. Women wearing tampons helps everyone. I know that I am happy every single girl on her period who sits in a chair before me has worn a pad or tampon, for obvious reasons.
Having a period costs an insane amount of money just to purchase pads. These costs do not include purchasing Midol or ibuprofen so the pain of having a period can be lessened and sometimes even decreased so much so that women can return to normal body function. By just taking the financial burden off the shoulders of some women so that they don’t have to think of paying for pads or tampons, they would be able to pay for something else that is of far more importance such as food for their children. Additionally, many women who have fallen on hard times cannot get the basic needs met of being able to stop menstrual flow because they need to be able to think about eating, not buying a tampon.
Tampons are not a luxury item. They are an item that helps women keep their environments and their bodies clean. These need to be free because some things are not comforts. Some objects are basic human rights. Tampons are one of them.