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The Pink Tax: What it is, how it can be fixed


What is it?

If you identify as a female consumer or make purchases from the women’s side of the store, you have probably experienced the Pink Tax. The Pink Tax is unfair pricing toward products that are designed to look more feminine. 

It is something all women must face at some point throughout their lives, beginning at childhood and following along into nearly every aspect of products and services women buy. 

This is not new information, though. Price gauging on women’s products has been going on for many years and has relied on the female housewife to be the target market for grocery stores and for other household supplies.

Though there is no difference between the products designed for women than the products designed for men, women are paying more than men 42% of the time. If the only difference is the color being pink or blue, why do the prices go up on the pink products?

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs released a study that compared over 800 products to determine the price differences between male and female products. The results showed that women and girls’ products cost 7% more than men’s products. 

The pricing is not only discriminatory toward adult women; this process begins at childhood. Girls’ clothing cost 4% more, and toys cost 7% more than the boys’ toys. 

It simply does not make sense that women are forced to pay higher prices when women are being paid lower wages at the same jobs as men.

What can we do? 

Many of the products that are taxed have a male version of the same product. A lot of hygiene products are the exact same, but the price differs toward the color of the razor or the scent of the deodorant or shaving cream. It seems simple to just buy the men’s products, but when there is no male counterpart there is no other option.

Women’s clothes are priced 8% more than men’s clothing. Services, like going to get your car fixed, often charge women a higher rate than what a man would be charged. 

Menstrual products cannot be avoided. Being taxed and not having a male version, women must pay for the pads or tampons that are unfairly priced. 

If you notice price gauging on products that are the same, buy the male product or post it on social media. Use your voice and vote for government officials who do not side with gender discrimination. Women need to be heard.

Why isn’t something being done to fix this?

In 2016, “The Pink Tax Repeal Act” was introduced in the 114th Congress. This bill sought to outlaw the Pink Tax in consumer goods and services throughout the United States. By the end of the year, the act was condemned.

This act was reintroduced two years later in April of 2018 where it was condemned yet again.

This issue is not only occurring in the United States, but almost everywhere across the globe. Women in France have taken their stance by creating a website that directly shows companies that raise their prices on women’s products that are identical to the men’s version. 

Certain companies have taken the initiative to eliminate The Pink Tax from their own products. Brands such as Billie, Boxed and Harry’s have started to take a stand against this discrimination. 

By recognizing and having awareness about the brands and products that take part in the Pink Tax, women can avoid making these purchases and help put an end to the gender discrimination.