• Maggie Di Sanza

The Harmful Realities of the Pink Tax

Updated: Aug 9, 2019

Time and time again, the costs of being a female consumer have proven greater than those of being a male consumer; yet, little change has been implemented. What is commonly referred to as the ‘pink tax,’ explains the financial differences in traditionally female and male products. Typically, female specific products are taxed as luxuries, meaning that they have a higher tax, and ergo, are far more costly than typically male products which are taxed as necessities. The pink tax covers usually hygiene and cosmetic oriented products - that’s right! You guessed it, usually menstrual products are included in this phenomenon as well!


Why are females paying more?


Well, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs released a study recently, which compared the prices of over 800 products. The goal of the research was to estimate price variants between male and female shoppers, when buying the same sort of product.

The results? Products designed for women and girls coat 7% more than comparable products for men and boys. 7% more for toys and accessories, 4% more for children’s clothing, 8% more for adult clothing, 13% more for personal care products, and 8% more for home care.


Clothes:


Old Navy was found charging more for women’s clothing, as females were paying $12-16 more than men's.



Self Care Products:


Things like razors, shaving cream, face cleanser, deodorant, and most other things one might purchase in a drug store. On average, women’s products cost $4 more than the comparable men’s products. Surprisingly, the only manufacturing difference in the products is the color! Which, in reality, has no impact on the function of a razor.



What is even more off-putting is the additional cost and tax placed on pads and tampons. A study by the Guardian in 2016, found that a menstruating person will spend over $4,000 on period products.


What can you do to help?


Fortunately, we are making some progress on the issue. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer charge women more for identical services; insurers are also required to cover birth control. California even passed a gender discrimination pricing law in 1996 where businesses could be fined for determining price based on gender.

That being said, there is always more work to be done, the best way to confront the pink tax is to invest in companies where sex is not a considered factor when pricing. Recently, more and more companies have been stepping up against unfair pricing. Harry’s is one of them! Harry’s is a gender neutral company that sells shaving and skin care related products. These items are incredibly cheap without compromising the quality!




Boxed is another company rethinking pink and confronting the pink tax. It enforces price quality for women providing self care products - sans a tax on tampons!

It is incredibly important that we speak out to our (new) legislators about this! Inform them of your stance on an unnecessary tax for females, and demand legislation that regulates price discrimination.


What are your opinions? Do you have any other solutions? Let me know in the comments!

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