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  • 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.

Works Cited

Fontinelle, Amy. “What Is the Pink Tax? Impact on Women, Regulation, and Laws.”

“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,

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