This Startup Has a Genius Idea to Fight the Tampon Tax

The tampon tax has been a major issue in recent years for feminists around the world, as women realized their periods shouldn’t be taxed as a luxury. Some places, like Canada, Florida, and New York, have eliminated the tampon tax in recent years. But in many places, the tax on menstrual products remains an unfair financial burden women have to shoulder.

One German startup developed a creative workaround to the tampon tax that’s helping bring much-needed local attention to the issue. The Female Company, an organic tampon subscription startup based in Stuttgart, Germany, calls their solution The Tampon Book.

In Germany, as in many states in the U.S., tampons are taxed as a luxury product which tacks an extra 19 percent onto the price. Meanwhile, champagne, truffles, and caviar are somehow not classified as luxury products and taxed at only seven percent. You know what else is taxed at seven percent? Books.

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The women at The Female Company decided to outsmart the system by creating a book with education information on the tampon tax and which includes a package of 15 tampons. Essentially, by sticking tampons inside a book about the tampon tax, they’re able to circumvent the tax in a way they couldn’t by just selling tampons in a regular box. Customers can get the educational book and 15 tampons for just 3 euros, or about $3.35.

Obviously, buying a book every time you want to buy tampons isn’t the best long-term solution, but it’s certainly an unexpected way to overcome a very frustrating issue and get the conversation started.

The startup believes there’s just not enough political pressure in Germany to convince politicians to make a change, even though they might theoretically agree that the tax is unfair. So they’re using the book to draw more attention to the issue and demand politicians finally take action. Their petition to reclassify menstrual products has over 150,000 signatures. They’ve started receiving support from German politicians and were even invited to discuss the issue with representatives in parliament.

The tampon tax may seem like a small issue if you look at one period, for one month, but over time those costs really add up. Particularly for women who are already struggling financially. Some estimates show that the German government generates more than $83,000,000 per year just by taxing menstrual products. Banning the tampon tax in New York is expected to save women $10,000,000 per year.

Take Action

In the U.S., many states still impose a luxury tax on tampons. Join more than 110,000 supporters and sign and share the petition demanding that these states make menstrual products tax exempt.

If you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.


Photo Credit: The Female Company


Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin14 days ago

yes it's super luxurious for 50% of a given population to try to control bleeding

Hannah A
Hannah A18 days ago

Thank you for sharing

Martha P
Maria P26 days ago

Thank you

Emma L
Past Member 26 days ago


Caitlin L
Caitlin Labout a month ago

thank you for posting

Lara A
Lara Aabout a month ago

Thanks very much

Sandy B
Sandy Babout a month ago

Why not just tax women breathing and existing, and get it over with! :(

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Bearaabout a month ago


Clare O
Clare O'Bearaabout a month ago

The pill can be taken every day of the month by most women but the decision was made to make a 21 day pill with a week of no pill in order to make women bleed. This was due to the interjection by the makers of feminine hygiene products, who claimed that women 'would prefer the reassurance of bleeding once a month'. I do not know any woman ever who wants to bleed. Pity there is money in these products isn't it?

Clare O
Clare O'Bearaabout a month ago

The article should tell us that women on the pill have much lighter periods, because this is actually a withdrawal bleeding from the week they stop taking the pill. In this case, women need fewer products, cheaper ones, on fewer days.