- Nate George
Unpacking The Pink Tax
The Pink Tax is not an actual tax, but rather, it is a term that describes discriminatory
discrepancies in pricing based on gender. The term grew popular in the 1990s, when
California passed the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1995 to prohibit price discrimination (The
Pink Tax: Latest Updates and Statistics). The Pink Tax refers to the extra amount of
money that women are charged for identical products and services. These products and
services are often pink or have feminine branding, and the higher prices can be
attributed to gender-based pricing practices. It is a form of gender discrimination that
has significant effects on women's financial well-being and contributes to the gender
wage gap. This price difference can add up over time and has been estimated to cost
women thousands of dollars over their lifetimes.
The effects of the Pink Tax are evident in various products and services, including
clothing, personal care items, and even healthcare. Studies show that women pay more
than men for nearly identical items, with the price difference ranging from 7% to as
much as 50%. In fact, a survey conducted by the New York City Department of Consumer
Affairs found that women's clothing costs on average 8% more than men's, with some
items such as shirts costing as much as 15% more (Gender-Based Price Discrimination: A
Study of the New York City Marketplace). This gender-based pricing disparity extends
beyond clothing, however. Women often pay more for personal care items, such as
shampoo, deodorant, and razors, in comparison to their male counterparts. The Pink Tax is also present in healthcare, with women paying more for health insurance premiums, as well
as for gender-specific medical treatments such as contraception and fertility treatments.
The Pink Tax not only impacts women's wallets but also further contributes to the
gender wage gap. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the
gap could be attributed to a combination of discrimination and factors such as
occupational segregation and differences in education and work experience (A
Comprehensive Analysis of the Gender Wage Gap in the US). The Pink Tax falls under this
category of discrimination, with women being charged more for products and services
based solely on their gender. This added expense is unnecessary and can prove
strenuous for women, particularly those living on lower incomes.
Eradicating the Pink Tax requires a multifaceted approach. One way is through
consumer education; by raising awareness about the Pink Tax, consumers are then able
to make informed choices about where to shop and what products to buy. This can put
pressure on retailers to offer fairer pricing practices. Another way to approach the issue
is through government regulation. Several states, including California, New York, and
Florida, have passed laws banning gender-based pricing practices (What Is the Pink Tax).
However, while these laws are a step in the right direction, they are still not a perfect
solution to the problem, as they are limited to specific products and services and do not
apply to all states. It is essential to continue the conversation about the Pink Tax and to
work towards more equitable pricing practices.
Fontinelle, Amy. “What Is the Pink Tax? Impact on Women, Regulation, and Laws.”
Investopedia, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.investopedia.com/pink-tax-5095458.
“Gender-Based Price Discrimination: A Study of Gender Pricing in New York City.” New
York City Department of Consumer Affairs, Dec. 2015,
Gillespie, Lane. “The Pink Tax: Latest Updates and Statistics.” Bankrate, 27 Feb. 2023,
Koenig, Anne M., et al. “A Comprehensive Analysis of the Gender Wage Gap in the US.”
National Bureau of Economic Research, Mar. 2021, www.nber.org/papers/w28522.