6 Facts You Need to Know About the 'Pink Tax,' Which Results in Female Consumers Paying More Than Men
Women pay around $1,300 more a year because of the ‘pink tax’
On average, women pay 42 percent more a year than men for essential products like tampons, pads and shampoo. Studies have found that female-branded products are priced higher than regular products. Moreover, medicine targeted toward men, such as erectile dysfunction drugs, are tax-exempt in most states in the country, while female hygiene products used for mestruation are not.
Though some price differences may seem like pennies, for many women the ‘pink tax’ could add up to $1, 351 per year. Furthermore, women in the United States suffer a considerable pay gap in contrast to white men, which means their paychecks shrink even more when faced with higher prices and taxes for basic items.
Your period is considered a luxury in 40 states
Some states have tax exemptions on necessary (non-luxury) items, which include groceries and medical purchases. But in 40 states, tampons aren't tax exempt, making menstruation a “luxury," which is why the "pink tax" is commonly called the "tampon tax."
In contrast, erectile dysfunction drugs are tax-exempt in all states, except Illinois, according to Politifact.
The ‘pink tax’ makes a lot of money for states
The tax ranges from 2.9 to 7.5 percent in most states that do tax feminine hygiene products. This not an added tax on feminine products, but rather a regular sales tax on products that by definition are considered necessities for most women.
Women spend an average of $7 per month on pads and tampons for 40 years. In California, this adds up to $20 million in taxes per year. This is why lawmakers in Utah, New York and Michigan, among other states, have tried to mend the ‘pink tax’, so that periods aren't treated as an illness or disease or a luxury.
Feminine hygiene products are a market tool
One of the key elements of the pink tax comes from the fact that companies market certain products for women by making them smaller and pink to make them look “feminine.” These products typically cost more than gender neutral or male-targeted brands.
In 2010, Consumer Reports found that female-branded items cost up to 50 percent more than male-branded products. Yet, there is no factual evidence of differences between the products besides color and market, which makes the female-branded items a high revenue tool.
Thanks to the gender and race pay gap, some women are affected more than others
The average pay for Latinas working full-time in the United States is 54 cents to every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earns. Meanwhile, white women earn 80 cents for every dollar a white man earns. This is why the pink tax is especially harmful for women of color in the United States. The Latina pay gap amounts to $26,095 per year, according to a study by the National Partnership for Women & Families, which means Latinas have less money to provide essentials for their families and themselves.
The pink tax mostly hits four types of products
Women can see the effects of the pink tax on four products and services: plus-size clothing, dry cleaning, feminine hygiene items and most imported items. When it comes to services, there is no law in the United States that bans gender discrimination, which can extend to services like dry cleaning and auto repairs.