Hint: No, there isn’t a blue tax.
Pink Tax is a term that references how marketers target women with pink products or those that get marked up (sometimes up to 50% more) to their otherwise gendered or genderless counterparts. The good news is that there’s progress being made. 2023 brings a new California law that will see retailers who don’t offer equal pricing hit with steep fines.
How Does the Pink Tax work?
These general products, such as razors or deodorants, can be used by both men and women, but the items marketed toward women are more expensive. This causes women to pay more money for similar and often identical products and services, that both men and women can use.
Spot the difference
When a company manufactures or sells a product, it may choose to price it a bit higher because it’s for women. In most cases, the difference between these products and comparable products for men is very minor. It may simply be the color or package design, but it makes it more expensive to buy necessities.
At the drugstore, you may notice that some razors may be pink and have a woman on the package, yet they are essentially the same as those that are blue with a man on the package. This marketing tactic is to entice certain people to buy certain products over others. The ones that are marketed toward women tend to cost more.
Has the Pink Tax always been around?
The pink tax dates back to at least the 1990s when a report from California’s Assembly Office of Research found that 64% of stores in several major cities charged more to wash and dry-clean a woman’s blouse than a man’s button-up shirt. The subject gained national attention and has since spurred various attempts at regulation to remove the pink tax.
Is it legal?
While the pink tax is still legal and exists in some states, the Pink Tax Repeal Act is an attempt to ban it. Introduced in April 2019 as H.R. 2048 by Rep. Jackie Speier and again in June 2021, the Pink Tax Repeal Act would make it illegal for companies to charge higher prices based on gender for products and services.
Common items with Pink Tax
The pink tax can be applied to various products and services, with beauty and health-related products or services being the most common. Popular items include razor cartridges, deodorant, shaving creams, razors, hair-care products, body washes and lotions. Sadly it does’t end here – the pink tax is also seen in items marketed towards girls too.
Next time you go to the store, look at the prices for all items to determine if you could end up paying more for one just because it’s marketed toward women. If there is no difference from the item marketed toward men, you could choose to buy that one and save a little money.
So, why does the Pink Tax exist?
Simply, it exists because companies can set prices for products. If a company believes a consumer will buy something even though it’s more expensive than others just like it, it may choose to do so. The pink tax comes in when a product costs more and is specifically marketed toward women, even though it could be used by any gender.
Key points to remember: The pink tax refers to the general tendency for products marketed toward women consumers to be more expensive than those marketed toward men. It’s often seen in a number of everyday products and services, including razors, shampoo, dry-cleaning, and haircuts. And, it’s not an actual tax!