The Pink Tax is the name given to the practice of charging higher costs for consumer goods that target female buyers. It gets its name from the color of products that are often marketed to women. Studies show that on average women lose approximately $1,351 per year due to gender inequality in consumer pricing.
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs published a study in 2015 that compared the prices of over 800 products to determine what the price difference is when men and women buy the same types of items. It showed that products for women and girls cost on average 7% more than the same items packaged for men and boys. This includes everything from generic razors to tube socks. Girls' toys are more expensive than boys'. Pink Lego-style blocks outprice their primary color counterparts. The same goes for sports equipment. Pink beginner bicycles from Target cost about 25% more than their non-pink versions, and helmets and protective knee pads check in at a whopping 13% higher.
Even services like dry cleaning have a different pricing structure for women's clothing versus men's. The cost of dry-cleaning a typical dress shirt costs $2.86 for men compared to $4.95 for a similar women's shirt, where both require the same level of detail in ironing. Similar discrepancies apply to haircuts and other personal care services. Feminine hygiene pads and tampons are charged a luxury tax, although I'm not sure why. Since when is menstruation considered a luxury?
It is clear that legislation needs to be changed to make the Pink Tax illegal, along with eliminating gender-based pay inequality. Online wholesaler Boxed.com is one company that is already taking a stand against the Pink Tax by “lowering prices on everyday items including body wash, deodorant, razors and shave gel”. They are also endorsing no taxation for tampons. We can only hope that more companies will follow in their footsteps. You can read more about the Pink Tax by clicking here: AxThePinkTax.
Photo credit: Ian Dooley
Copyright April 2019 by Sharon Gnatt Epel for La Ishá