When you buy everyday items like razors or body wash, it's easy to spot "masculine" products because they tend to be blue or gray, and if scented, "musky" in smell. On the other hand, "feminine" products are pink with a dash of glitter and have "fruity" scented names like sweet pea or apple blossom.
While colors and scents are the most obvious differences between products aimed at men and women, there's another not-so-apparent difference: the price tag. And it’s costing those who buy products aimed at women a lot more.
The pink tax
The pink tax is gender-based pricing that charges more for the same or similar products targeted to women. And it’s not actually a tax, but rather an income-generating strategy by consumer goods companies that see the opportunity to make more by charging more. The thinking is if you can make more money, why not?
And it's not a new phenomenon. Over the last two decades, several US states have released detailed reports on gender pricing discrimination in their states.
The issue was then more clearly defined in 2015 when the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs released their findings: women’s products cost 7% more than similar
products for men, with the most egregious upcharges found in personal care products.
The pink tax doesn't just stop at women's products though. Toys and accessories for girls are consistently priced higher than those for boys. Based on the study, the largest price discrepancy was in helmets and knee/elbow pads, with girls' versions priced 13% higher!
So how do you avoid it?
♀️ Support companies that are standing up to the pink tax. Have you heard of startups like Harry's, Billie or Box? They are enforcing price equality for feminine products, on a per-unit basis for products that typically cost more for women than men.
🧴 Buy gender-neutral items when shopping for toys, razors, shampoos, deodorants.
🧼 Price compare services like dry cleaning that are known to have a steep pink tax.
⚖️ If you're feeling inspired, talk to your state representatives, and support price equality social media campaigns. Activism and word-of-mouth are powerful tools we have!