The Pink Tax has been seen as a form of gender-based price discrimination that affects women by charging extra for things that are not only pink, but also products that are marketed “for women”. A study from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs showed price discrepancies between many items both females and males use:
- Girls’ toys cost more 55% of the time, while boys’ toys cost more 8% of the time
- Girls’ clothing costs more 26% of the time, while boys’ clothing cost more 7% of the time
- Women’s personal care products cost more 56% of the time, while men’s personal care products cost more 13% of the time
As of June 2019, only thirteen states have completely exempted the tax on essential hygiene products.
Females are impacted the most because we are swayed (and often forced) to pay more for the same products that are marketed towards males. Most women need feminine hygiene products for a week out of every month for around 30 years. The Huffington Post calculated how much the average woman spends in a lifetime on feminine hygiene products: $18,171. That’s a lot of money that half the population doesn’t have to pay!
The Pink Tax comes with social and economic barriers. With one in five U.S. children living in poverty, it doesn’t help that pads and tampons are almost never provided in school bathrooms. This lack of resources leads to social barriers and further exacerbates the inequalities girls face. The repercussions of the Pink Tax and the social and economic barriers it brings to light cause stress in the girls and women in our communities.
How can we fight the Pink Tax? Here are a few suggestions:
- Women can shop for men’s or unisex products such as razors, shampoo, and even clothing
- Shopping for clothes at thrift stores is not only good for the environment; it can be gender-neutral! Many thrift stores price their items by groups — sweaters, jeans, shirts — instead of individually pricing each item
- Buy feminine products in bulk when possible
- Always support women-made products and women-owned businesses
Written by Nicole Camello, Girls Inc. of the Valley’s Communication Intern