Tampons and sanitary napkins should be a right, not a privilege.
According to a 2015 study, the average tampon user will spend $1,773 on tampons in their lifetime, in a figure referred to as "the pink tax." It's ridiculous that folks with vaginas have to spend more money in order to exist.
For women who are incarcerated and earning just $0.25 to $1.15 an hour (if they are even able to find a job while they are incarcerated), this is even more problematic.
The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, introduced on Tuesday by senator Elizabeth Warren and senator Cory Booker, will ensure that women who are incarcerated have access to free tampons and sanitary napkins. The bill will also ensure that pregnant women are not transferred to solitary confinement, and will make it easier for mothers who are incarcerated to see and call their children.
Women who are incarcerated are overwhelmingly more likely to suffer from mental health problems.
To be forced to spend money on something that you literally need, when you're making little to no money, can add to that burden. This is especially true for mothers who have to worry about sending money back to their families, along with having to pay to be incarcerated. The issue is systemic.
Upon presenting the new bill, senator Cory Booker stated, "Moms are forced to choose between spending money to buy essential health care items or to call their kids." This is unacceptable.
New York City passed a law last year ensuring that women in prisons, public schools, and shelters all have access to free tampons and sanitary napkins. Hopefully, this law will soon be implemented on a federal level as well.