Graphic by Phoebe Hughes

No Facts Justify the Pink Tax

Businesses capitalize on gender-based price discrimination
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Businesses capitalize on gender-based price discrimination

Gender-based price gouging often goes unnoticed, even though it affects the most basic items like clothing, menstrual products and toiletries.

The pink tax, also known as the tampon tax, refers to women’s products that frequently cost more than equivalent male products. These taxed items aren’t necessarily centered around female hygienic products, but they often target that audience.

March is dedicated to Women’s History Month, where past actions, sacrifices and challenges advocating for equal rights are respected and celebrated. The pink tax furthers gender discrimination and promotes the patriarchal setup of our society.

Women pay more for products solely based on the product being used on a female body. This contributes to the suppression of female rights by unrealistically charging women more for the same products.

The tax allows companies to take advantage of women’s products and manipulate the pricing to further profit. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs conducted a study of the price differences between products which had male and female versions. The study found, on average, women’s products cost 7% more than men’s products.

There are only five states which don’t tack on an additional tax for any women’s products—Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.

Research shows the female version of products like razors, clothes, shaving cream, facial cleanser and even children’s toys cost more on average than their nearly identical male counterpart products.

Take a trip to the Target website and you can see the pink tax in action. A quick browse of Target brand razors will show the different pricing for men and women. A four-pack of women’s razors costs $2.99, while an eight-pack of men’s razors costs $4.89. That’s about 75 cents per women’s razor and about 60 cents per men’s razor.

Pink taxes still exist in 35 states in the United States. There are only five states which don’t tack on an additional tax for any women’s products—Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.

Both New York and California look to join the five states of pink tax exemption by eliminating gender-based pricing discrimination. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York is leading a campaign against the pink tax with a budget plan to remove all gender-based pricing. California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson motioned for the same action and argued for the removal of the tax through a demonstration provided in a press conference. Jackson placed two basically identical soccer balls on a table, one with a pink stripe priced at $8.99 and the other with a blue stripe priced at $6.99. Jackson showed gender-based pricing to be simply ludicrous.

As of June 2019, 13 states made female hygiene products tax exempt, including Utah, Ohio, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

The essence of the pink tax is to further discriminate by gender and sexuality to create immense profit off of the subtle product differences. This makes money for corporate manufacturers and hinders the progression of gender equality.

To participate in the pink tax revolution and help the gender equality cause, we advocate boycotting products that target women or supporting companies who fight against gender-based pricing. We encourage people to purchase from companies that don’t produce gender-specific products. Collectively, this allows us to retaliate against the existence of the pink tax in the first place.

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