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How the pink tax ties to modern-day sexism

Daniella Solares


January 20, 2023

Spot the difference - Feminine hygiene products are upped in price despite the same material quality.

As a woman, I know the damage done to bank accounts because of essential feminine products. What I learned, however, was the dark truth behind these expenses when I delved deeper.

The “Pink Tax” is what is referred to as a disparity in hygiene products between men and women, according to the World Economic Forum. Elisabeth Haub at Pace University explains that people were not quick to distinguish the price difference between products for men and women. People have always been afraid or disgusted by mentioning— dare I say it— menstruation.

The pink tax was first noticed back in 1994 when the California Assembly Office of Research reported that 64% of the stores in five major cities charged women more to wash their clothes versus a man’s clothes according to Alex Bova at J.P. Wealth Management. This extra “tax” was repealed in 1995, but that has not stopped other states or areas from charging more based on gender. To this day, New Jersey is currently proposing a bill to eradicate any discriminatory charge against women. New York is the only state that has a legitimate ban against the pink tax according to Anna Baulch at The Balance.

To be clear, there is no real tax on these products, but it is apparent that they are upscaled in price. According to Baulch, companies choose to up their prices when selling products simply because it is for women. This is most common in hygiene products for women compared to the same products sold for men. This includes products like razors, soap, lotions, deodorants, period products, and more.

So what’s wrong with that?

As I mentioned, people are afraid to discuss discrepancies between products for men and women because of the stigma surrounding women’s bodily functions. If men bleed out it’s fine I guess? Forget about the life cycle.

Additionally, while it may seem like a few cents, the pricing adds up over time. Bova says that women lose about $1,300 dollars each year due to the pink tax. On top of this economic burden on women, women continue to get paid less than men. This is a deeper-rooted problem that stems from sexism in the workplace.

According to Bova, women made 84% of what men made in 2020. This pattern continues to exist today. In the acting industry, there is at least still a $1 million dollar difference in money earned per film between genders according to the University of Berkeley. Similarly, most of the time companies are quite literally selling the same thing. One is just packaged in pretty flowers and pinks. Why should women be confined to sparking glitter and blossoms? I understand that this is marketing, but there should also be a variety and gender-neutral products.

To take action against the pink tax, contact your local state representatives, support companies that prompt gender equality, and most importantly, spread the word. Help end the unjust burden of the pink tax on women.

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