April 20, 2018 11:00 AM

The Ax the Pink Tax movement rocked Miami. A group of Latinas gathered in the sunny city on April 17 to stand up for gender equality and raise awareness about the price markup retailers add to items marketed to women. While the hip, urban office where the reunion took place was filled with pink balloons, donuts and cupcakes, the attendees were there to discuss an issue that can’t be sugar-coated: the  so-called “pink tax” costs women an extra $1,351 a year on average.

(Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Refinery29)

Julia Armstrong, a marketing manager at the European Wax Center, which sponsored the event, gave a powerful presentation on how essential products (baby bottles and tampons to name a few) and common goods (jeans, razors) cost more for women than for men. If a baby bottle or razor is pink rather than blue, you’ll pay more for it— and it adds up. Pink calculators helped the women at the event calculate the cost of  hidden fees. “For me, I’m 36 and it’s about $40,000,” Armstrong said after tallying what the “pink tax” has cost her over her to date. “If you’re 80, over the lifetime of a woman, that’s over a $100,000. What could you put that money towards?”

Gasps were heard around the room as the disparate price tags for male and female targeted products were revealed. “They were shocked because they have no idea,” Armstrong later told PEOPLE CHICA. “We just want you to be aware and tell your friends. The answer is not to go buy men’s products. The answer is to level the playing field. We want the pink and the purple products, but we want them for the same price.”

The women at the event dyed their eyebrows pink in support of the movement and voiced their opinions. Latina bloggers like fashionista Kelly Saks and Despierta América’s Astrid Rivera Luciano rallied for the cause. “These types of movements for women are very important,” Luciano said, adding, “2018 for me is the year of women, the year of empowerment and women raising their voices. It’s important for us to support one another. When women unite we create the kind of activism that helps to change laws.”

(Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The long-enduring myth that women are bad with finances was also addressed by the panelists and put to rest. “We do spend wisely, we have to. We are managing with less pay and paying more for products,” Armstrong said. “We have children to raise, many women are single moms, we have to manage our money wisely and build awareness for us.”

The pink tax doesn’t only affect women. It affects men, who pay more on gifts for their wives, daughters, and mothers, and the finances of the entire family. There are also male supporters of the movement, like Jody Musselman of the European Wax Center. “It’s important as men that we are aware of what happens in the world around us today and that we express that it’s not OK, and there needs to be an equal playing field for everyone regardless of gender,” he says. “As men, we need to also bring awareness, so that we’re supporting each other.”

To continue the conversation and learn more about the Pink Tax visit http://www.AxThePinkTax.com

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