By now, you’ve probably heard about the “pink tax”. The term has been all over social media lately. In a nutshell, the idea that the “female” versions of the same products and services cost more than the male versions is sadly a reality.
Recently there was a study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs that surveyed almost 800 products and found that in 42% of cases, women paid more for the same items as men. That’s right a pink razor costs more than a blue razor but they are exactly the same- except for the color.
Even if products like razors are identical in every area but the color, there could be other minor differences in production of the product or slightly different features like “scent”.
Some people also say that women willingly pay more for feminized products. That means women don’t want to use a blue razor so they will pay extra to use a “girlie” colored razor. Now this might be true but what about clothing? Dry Cleaning? These often all cost more if you are a woman.
Many feel that there is a serious case of price-gouging going on when it comes to woman.
In 2010, Consumer Reports surveyed drugstore products and found the women’s versions of the same product might cost up to 50% more than the men’s (think shaving cream, lotions etc) . Then there was a California study in the 90’s that found gender-based pricing cost women more than $1,300 extra each year.
In the UK, the issue has been raised in Parliament many times after an investigation by The Times found women could be paying up to twice as much as men for what appeared to be identical products. It’s a frustrating situation.
To be fair, there is currently no federal law in the U.S. against charging more for products or services based on gender, but there are state and city laws. Back in 1995, California became the first state to ban gender-based price differences for services like hair salons and dry cleaners.
Then New York City brought in a similar law in 1998, banning gender-based pricing and requiring business owners to explain any differences in prices that appear to be based on gender. Fines start at $250 for a first offense and then go up. However the city only issued 129 violations to businesses in 2015.
Do you think that women pay more just because they are women?