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Best Anti-Sexist Legislation

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After years of New Yorkers suffering through extra-expensive tampons — a single 36-count box in the city can cost as much as $9 — the state finally exempted tampons, pads, and other feminine-hygiene products from state and local sales tax this year. Before this, products used by men and women alike, like Rogaine or bandages — or even Fruit Roll-Ups — remained exempt from taxes, but tampons and pads, considered “medical devices” by the federal Food and Drug Administration, were taxed as nonessential luxury goods, earning the state about $14 million in annual sales tax revenue. Not only is menstruation no luxury, but high costs of feminine-hygiene products can cause low-income girls and women to miss school or work and risk health complications. As a bonus to this long-overdue change from sexist practice, the New York City Council is piloting a program that will provide free pads and tampons in public schools in Queens and the Bronx, as well as in shelters and prisons citywide.

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