What To Tell Men Who Think Tampons Are 'Luxury' Items

All of the results from a recent survey show a sharp gender divide.

A new survey released this month found the majority of men believe women shouldn't have a right to affordable menstrual hygiene products, while the majority of women think of affordable tampons, pads, and the like as a right, not a privilege.

As noted by HuffPost, the YouGov survey polled over 2,000 American adults and revealed only 46 percent of men said they agreed that having access to affordable tampons and pads should be categorized as a right, not a privilege. On the other hand, 65 percent of the women surveyed said it should be considered a right. 

That gender divide was easily visible throughout much of the survey. When asked if feminine hygiene products should be available free of charge in all school restrooms, only 53 percent of men surveyed agreed compared to 76 percent of women surveyed. 

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Interestingly enough, when questioned about whether feminine hygiene products should be available free of charge in all workplace restrooms, both genders took a hit. However, with just 41 percent of men agreeing and 60 percent of women in agreement, a similar gender divide still remained.

What the YouGov survey repeatedly shows is that men and women obviously view access to and affordability of feminine hygiene products very differently. Still, no matter your gender, the ability to purchase affordable tampons, pads, etc. is incredibly important, and should be seen as a right. 

Why? Because research has shown that when women and girls around the world don't have access to sanitary products, or simply can't afford them, they suffer in a myriad of ways completely foreign to their male contemporaries. For example, a Vice article from last year found many girls in public school (even in places like New York City) end up missing school on account of their periods.

In other parts of the world where feminine hygiene products are subject to an even higher luxury tax than they are in many states within the U.S. and/or harder to come by, girls end up dropping out of school all together. A 2011 report from UNICEF found around one-third of girls in rural India leave school after starting their periods thanks to a combination of shame, lack of access to hygiene products and clean bathrooms, and a need to marry and produce children.

However, charities like UNICEF and Oxfam have worked with schools all over the globe to create "period-friendly bathrooms" to ensure girls don't have to say goodbye to their studies when they start menstruating.

And while the struggle isn't quite the same, we've made measurable progress stateside as well thanks to the efforts of politicians like Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren.

As of August 2017, federal prisons are required to provide female inmates with a range of feminine hygiene products free of charge, and last year New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation making menstrual hygiene products free and available in all public schools, shelters and jails across the metropolis. 

According to Time, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Illinois have made tampons and sanitary products tax-exempt, and California is looking to follow suit by replacing their "tampon tax" with a tax on alcohol instead. 

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