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Senior Capstone 2021

Is there gender bias and regulatory discrimination within the tax policy of feminine hygiene products in the United States?

Abstract: To understand the instability of social structure surrounding gender equity, we need to examine the reality of it. There are inherent inconsistencies between social welfare in the United States, persistently making women the subordinate gender. To understand the “why,” we need to look at the fundamentals on which this is built on. Society must legitimize the goal of gender equity, but we are uncomfortable talking about it: periods, menstruation, and how women are penalized for it. This paper assesses the need for taxation and where it is applied in the attempt to understand why some states in the U.S. place a sales tax on feminine hygiene products. The history for these products is reviewed, income inequalities are elucidated, and examples of unequal policies are demonstrated. My paper aims to investigate the rationale for this and in doing so I hope to identify if there is gender bias present in taxation policy.  The purpose is to inform individuals of the gender disparities and injustices that persist through regulatory discrimination.

Paulina Janik is a fourth-year student at Northeastern University majoring in economics. Her interest is in the discriminatory tendency in policies in the United States, specifically tax policy and gender and race discrimination within that. Her immediate plans are to finish her undergraduate degree and pursue graduate school.