Women shouldn’t have to pay for period products

Being female in the U.S. is expensive. Many might stereotypically assume that women spend more on average because of beauty upkeep like hair appointments, manicures and makeup, but there’s much more to the story. Women are disproportionately affected by a high cost of living in the U.S. because of many different factors, including higher healthcare expenses for regular reproductive health checkups. But, the most ridiculous culprit of this price increase is the added expense of period products that women have to budget for on a monthly basis.  Especially considering the wage gap and inflation, the fact that women are forced to pay more just because of their sex, is absurd. 

Unfortunately, living as a woman means spending this extra money on period products quite frequently. With a box of period supplies lasting only a short time if used properly, most women have to restock their supplies monthly, and it adds up. According to U.S. News, period supplies cost roughly 20 dollars per menstrual cycle. That’s not cheap, especially not for those living paycheck-to-paycheck or working minimum wage jobs. Lower income women already struggle with pressing issues like the uncertainty of when their next meal will be; they shouldn’t have to worry about how they’re going to get through their next menstrual cycle as well. Plus, inflation is causing the prices of period products to be at an all-time high, which is unsustainable for many women who may not have the privilege of financial security. To allot an extra 20 dollars (or more, depending on the specifics of one’s cycle) per month just to be able to manage a biological, unavoidable bodily function is wildly unethical.

Though women could technically get by without them, period products are not a luxury item. Buying a box of pads is not like buying makeup or nail polish (other expenses associated with being a woman). Without period products, the risk of infections during a menstrual cycle greatly increases, not to mention the discomfort of having to substitute pads and tampons with toilet paper or rags. Going through a period without supplies is extremely unsanitary and it makes the already grueling symptoms of a period much worse. Menstrual products may be optional, but periods are not, and women deserve the simple comfort of free products to help manage them.

Periods are hard enough as is, with cramps that can be severe as well as a plethora of other intense symptoms. Women cannot control their anatomy, and the idea that they still have to pay to deal with the normal functions of their bodies is unjustifiable.