Are you familiar with the pink tax? As women, we should be aware of this common business practice that costs women millions of dollars each year, even as we suffer from gender parity.
What is it?
The pink tax is not actually a tax, which is illegal. Instead, it is a concept that refers to a marketing gimmick where companies change the packaging or color to appeal to women consumers, then increase the price. The result: an unfair price increase that women consumers pay for products that are very similar or the same as products for men that are priced significantly lower. These price increases are targeted specifically to women and result in women paying more for a product than men pay for a similar product.
Why should women pay more when women are already underpaid?
The gender equity pay gap is still a reality for women everywhere around the globe. Men and women should not pay different prices for the same thing.
The pink tax is price discrimination based on gender.
What are some examples?
There are countless examples where the pink tax can be seen in action, sometimes on a store display, side by side.
- Tampons and other feminine products
- Hair care
- Body wash
- Ear plugs
- Hotel kits
Why does it matter?
Earning less and paying more means women are losing A LOT of money. Individually and collectively, we need to keep as much of our hard-earned dollars as possible for ourselves, our families, and our communities. This is how many of us show up to take care of ourselves and provide care and service to others.
Gender equity means women make the same money as men and pay the same amount for the same products.
Studies have shown that the pink tax can cost women up to $1,300 per year. Other studies have found that women pay more for products 42% of the time. Some prices may be 50 cents more while others could be several dollars more—and that can add up over time. (Source)
How can women avoid it?
Women can do a lot to dissuade these types of biased marketing and sales strategies. The top 5 ways to avoid the pink tax include the following:
- Reduce the demand for higher-priced pink tax products by not buying them and encouraging others to do the same.
- Buy gender-neutral products and/or the less expensive men’s version of the same product.
- Write to the stores that carry pink tax products.
- Write your local government official to protest this unfair business practice.
- Shop at stores that do not allow pink tax products.
Are there any regulations to prevent this type of bias?
The pink tax is illegal in the State of New York. To date, there are no federal laws passed against it in the United States, even though the Pink Tax Repeal Act is a federal bill created in 2016. There have been attempts to pass the bill, for example, in 2021, but the Act never passed.
As an informed consumer, you are your best advocate when it comes to protecting yourself against the pink tax.
Photo credit: Valerie Elash, Unsplash