January 17, 2020

How Women Shoppers Can Beat the Pink Tax

By Nicki Escudero

Products marketed to women are often more expensive than similar products and services for males. From haircuts to medication, gender-based pricing is problematic for female and male consumers alike, and it’s costing tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.

A report by the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress found that women pay:

  • 92% more than men for dry cleaning dress shirts
  • 54% more than men for a haircut
  • 13% more for personal care products

The report contains many instances where the same product, in pink, costs several dollars more than its male-targeted counterpart.  This discrepancy is what is commonly known as the pink tax.

The pink tax is everywhere

The pink tax affects more than ladies who are purchasing products and services for themselves. It affects anyone who is buying a female-targeted item for someone in their life.

“My wife and I have two boys and a girl,” says Roi Tavor, CEO of Nummo, a personal financial management platform and budgeting app. “Since their very first haircuts, my wife and I were having conversations about hairdressers and the massive price difference when it comes to haircuts. Why does it cost so much more for our daughter to get a haircut?”

The pink tax is also sometimes referred to as the “tampon tax,” as sanitary pads and tampons, which are considered a necessity for most American women, are subject to sales tax in 35 states due to being considered “luxury items.” Necessary products, like medicine and food, are not subject to sales tax.

The New York Times reported that in 2019, 22 states introduced bills to repeal the “tampon tax,” but none were signed into law.

“The tampon tax amounts to sex-based discrimination,” Period Equity founder Jennifer Weiss-Wolf told The New York Times. Tennis star Serena Williams added, “A tax on periods is wrong. Telling half the population that their needs aren’t important is wrong.”