According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, women in Arizona are paid 84 cents for every dollar paid to men, a total of a $7,029 wage gap. The wage gap varies even further by race, according to the Arizona Women and the Wage Gap fact sheet, Asian women are paid 81 cents, African American women are paid 67 cents, and Latinas are paid 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
Women have many financial strains on their wallet for making cents on the dollar. Even though the wage gap takes thousands from their salary, they still pay sales tax for necessities from the state.
Rep. Athena Salman introduced House Bill 2222, which would use $80,000 of state funds to guarantee inmates unlimited access to feminine hygiene products like pads and tampons. The House Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee passed House Bill 2222 Monday, Feb. 5, but it was later shelved by the House Rules Committee.
Although they did not pass the bill, the Department of Corrections revised their policy, tripling the monthly minimum of free pads. The minimum baseline amount for free pads was changed from 12 to 36. Inmates may now request an unlimited amount of pads for free. I spoke with Rep. Athena Salman about her journey to fight for female necessities.
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Brieana Sealy is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service from the School of Journalism with the University of Arizona. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.