April 11, 2018 10:26 AM

The “pink tax” , as it’s commonly called, costs women in the U.S. an average of $1351 more a year than their male counterparts for products marketed to female consumers (think pink razors and feminine scented deodorants) and services like dry cleaning. In 2015, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that items targeting women cost 7% more on average than comparable products targeting men. The extra financial burden hits Latinas, who earn less than all other female demographics according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, hardest.

The wage gap coupled with the fact that Latinas are some of the country’s biggest consumers  — representing almost 18% of the country’s population and significant spending power — makes the pink tax a kind of double whammy. The 28 million Hispanic females living in the U.S. are spearheading U.S. business growth. From the years 2005 to 2015, their consumer power grew 37 percent, according to a Nielsen report released last year. “We are not only changing the face, but also the economic future of America,” Nuria Santamaria Wolfe, CEO of Canticos, a start-up that sells bilingual books and children’s products, told CNBC.

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In general, women spend 42 percent more each year for essential products and 8 percent more on adult apparel than the opposite sex. Given that Latinas comprise almost 18 percent of the entire country and are spending more than ever, they’re hit by those statistics harder than  their non-Hispanic peers. According to a study of Census Bureau data from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Latinas lose more than 1 million dollars over their careers, which puts them at a disadvantage before they even enter a store.

Having so much consumer power means that Latinas can affect real change: “If we hold the power, we must exercise it responsibly, and while complex things like tax reform sit in the political spiderweb of Washington, we can make an impact by letting our voices be heard with our local officials,” Lili Gil Valletta, Cofounder and CEO of CIEN+, told PEOPLE CHICA, adding, “Anyone can contact their state representatives today to prioritize lobbying for equity in tax treatment of products like tampons!”

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

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