It’s Time to Ax the Pink Tax

by Alexa Dato

The United States acknowledges Equal Pay Day every year, in which women around the country spoke out about ways to improve the gender pay gap. ICYMI, white women make on average $0.80 per every $1 earned by their male counterparts, and it’s even lower for Latina women ($0.54) and black women ($0.63). As if we needed another reason to get fired up, today let's talk about the pink tax.

The pink tax isn’t necessarily a tax, but rather the term given to gender-specific items that often cost more for women, simply because they are pink and lady-friendly. Don’t believe us? In 2015, one study in New York City surveyed over 800 products from more than 90 brands and on average, the products that were clearly marketed to women and girls costed 7% more than gender-neutral or male-specific products. Overall:

  • Girls’ toys cost more 55 percent of the time, while boys’ toys cost more 8 percent of the time.

  • Girls’ clothing cost more 26 percent of the time, while boys’ clothing cost more 7 percent of the time.

  • Women’s personal care products cost more 56 percent of the time, while men’s products cost more 13 percent of the time.

  • Senior home health care products cost more for women 45 percent of the time and cost more for men 13 percent of the time.

Part of the issue with the pink tax is marketing schemes; brands spend more money marketing to female consumers than male consumers which they then factor into the price of the product. Why are they marketing to women over men in the first place? One theory is because women have traditionally managed the household, which includes buying groceries, personal care products, and clothing for children. Since women were more likely than men to take care of the shopping, marketing teams focused their attention on female buyers.

On average, the pink tax causes women spend an extra $1,351 per year just for being a woman. That’s $1,351 that could be put towards education, investing in a career, or even going out for drinks to celebrate new accomplishments with friends. The pink tax is another symbol of the ways in which women are prevented from achieving economic equality with men. If the entire system is rooted in sexist approaches to marketing products, it’s time to hire more women who can speak to the way in which the pink tax has affected their wallets and we can embark on fair pricing standards for gender-neutral products. Gender has no place in pricing; leave economic gender discrimination in the past where it belongs.

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