It’s Costly Being a Woman

The “Pink Tax” is the notion that a system of discriminatory pricing of products and services that is based solely on gender costs the average woman over $1,300 a year. While many products are not marketed specifically for women or men, manufactures use gender-normative sales practices like bright pink or purple packaging and sweet scents to ensure women know the product is for them. There are a variety of items and industries that utilize these deceiving tactics on items such as, personal care products, adult clothing, accessories, etc. Policies should be put in place to prevent this phenomenon.

One of the biggest issues with the Pink Tax is that it is not always easy to measure. It may be easy to see that a razor or shaving cream, for example, costs more than a comparable men’s products. It is more difficult to tell the price difference of shirts and pants. Furthermore, merchants’ brands and product quality vary across the board, making it harder to determine a fair price without the gender bias.

This tax, does not only affect adult women but also young girls. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs study found that “girl toys” cost on average 2 percent to 13 percent more than “boy toys” that are the same other than their color. The study also found that children and baby clothing varied in percent difference from 2 percent to 13 percent. Specifically, girls’ shirts cost on average $15.82 and boys’ shirts cost $13.95 a $1.87 price difference. Moreover, shampoo and conditioner costs on average $8.39 for woman whereas men’s shampoo and conditioner costs on average $5.68. That is a staggering $2.71 price difference with a 48 percent difference.

These items are not alone in being expensive for women. Tax exemption status is granted to products that are considered basic necessities except for essential feminine hygiene products,  women still incur sales tax. These products include tampons, pantyliners and sanitary products. These products are necessary for all women and many cannot be reused safely. Currently there are 30 states that still impose a tax on tampons, but states like Indiana and Iowa do not tax BQQ sunflower seeds or cotton candy. The average sales tax in the United States is about 7%, so a $7 box of tampons will cost about 49 cents in taxes. The average woman will use about 240 tampons a year spending over $52 on tampons alone.

 A research journal found that 64 percent of women were not able to afford their menstrual hygiene products during 2018 and 21 percent of women experience this problem every month. Women who live in poverty, not to mention, may not have access to warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club where these items can be sold in bulk. It is clearly very costly being a woman and having to pay more in clothes, hygiene products and other personal care products. By removing the sales tax on tampons, some of the financial burden will be lifted making it more equitable for all women and young girls. While the Pink Tax issue is more complex, the most efficient way to do support women who experience the financial burden is to remove the sales tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products.