The pink tax, though not an actual tax, refers to a gender-based pricing system that singles out products and services marketed to women. Stacker explored how the pink tax impacts women across the nation.
Personal care products such as body wash, shampoo, lotion, and deodorant cost women close to 13% more than products geared toward men, according to data collected in March 2022 by The Balance. Even razors marketed toward women were more costly by 9%. Oftentimes, the packaging or product is pink in color, hence the name “pink tax.”
In the U.S., many items considered essential goods—from groceries to medications—are exempt from sales tax. Other items, deemed nonessential, are taxed as luxury items. More than 20 states apply such a tax to feminine hygiene products. A growing number of lawmakers have advocated eliminating the so-called pink tax on gendered products.
Katie Edwards-Walpole, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives, was one of the co-sponsors of a tampon tax repeal bill in Florida, which passed the state’s legislature in 2017.
“I was serving as a state rep for Florida and began receiving emails with the subject line, ‘Periods are taxing enough,’” Walpole told Stacker.
“Me being a 30-something-year-old female lawmaker, I didn’t mind putting my name behind the bill. I worked with a Republican to file the legislation. Through that bill, other people began reaching out and said it helped with affordability,” Walpole said.
Amid soaring prices due to the current inflation, women are certainly feeling the impact of the pink tax. Gender-biased pricing has been going on for years. Back in 1995, California became the first state to pass the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1995.
This came after California’s Assembly Office of Research discovered in 1994 that women were charged $2 more to dry clean their blouses than men for shirts. The study also showed department stores required women to pay for alterations made to their business suits while men’s suits were often altered free of charge.
In 2015, a study called “From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer” explored gender pricing in New York City. One of the major findings was women pay, on average, $1,351 more than men in a “gender tax” for the same services.
Read on to learn how the pink tax impacts women in America.