Demonstrators rally for first ever National Period Day

Posted on 19 October 2019 at 4:47pm

COLUMBIA - Demonstrators rallied at Speakers Circle on Saturday for the first ever National Period Day. 

Organizers said they want to bring awareness to menstruation. 

"It's not really something people want to talk about," rally participant Kit Frazen said.

Columbia was one of 55 locations across the country where rallies took place.

"There's so many things that people don't realize when the word menstruate comes up," said Erica Overfelt, president of the student organization Period @ Mizzou. "People that menstruate have to pay more just for buying menstrual products." 

Thirty-four states across the U.S. have a tax on feminine products, also known as the tampon tax. Missouri is among the states on that list.

According to the Tax Foundation, states have been hesitant to eliminate the tampon tax because it would lead to an increase in taxes for other items with a sales tax.

Overfelt said she wants to stop the tax disparity between menstrual products and other non-essential products. 

"Another luxury product that isn't taxed is Viagra, and that's just something we want to stop," Overfelt said. 

According to a recent St. Louis University study of about 200 women in poverty, two-thirds of women in the St. Louis area could not afford menstrual products.

"I have the ability and privilege to provide myself these products, but I know there are so many women who have to go hours on end without being able to provide themselves with proper healthcare," Frazen said. 

Overfelt said she wants to take these issues to legislators in Jefferson City.

"It's easily forgotten, and it shouldn't be easily forgotten," Overfelt said.