In the renewed age of feminism, there is a hot potato topic being tossed around between lawmakers that reveals the ways in which overt sexism directly affects American purse strings. It’s called the “pink tax” and it can be found everywhere feminine hygiene products are sold.
In her now famous 2017 Women’s March speech, Ashley Judd claimed, “Pads and tampons (are) still taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not.” And she’s not totally wrong. According to PunditFact, as of January 2017, 38 states tax feminine hygiene products. Viagra isn’t taxed in 49 states because it is a prescription medication. And as for Rogaine, well, it is exempt from state tax in 8 states.
But it’s not just adult female personal care items that are being unfairly taxed; it looks like little girls’ products are, too. According to a new study by the New York City Consumer Affairs (DCA), girls’ clothing and toys are more likely to cost more than boys’ — and not by a small margin.
In the study, more than 800 products marketed to males or females by more than 90 different brands sold in 24 stores in the New York City area were examined. They found that women’s products cost an average of 7 percent more than men’s. And while most adult women wouldn’t be surprised by this finding, the price discrepancy demonstrated among children’s gear was perhaps unexpected. Toys and accessories for girls and boys were not priced equally. On average, the so-called “pink tax” meant girls’ items cost approximately 7 percent more.
The practice of overcharging women is called the “pink tax” because, as the study points out, women “do not have control over the textiles or ingredients used in the products marketed to them and must make purchasing choices based only on what is available in the marketplace.” But when the products that are available are strategically marked at higher price points than male versions of the same product, women are forced to pay a higher price for those products clearly marketed to females.
I have personally seen this “pink tax” in action on clothing racks at department stores while looking for deals on children’s clothes for my sons and daughter. I find it oddly telling that girls’ shoes and jackets are almost always more expensive than boys’. It feels to me that if my daughter is almost being groomed to become accustomed to paying higher prices for simply being female.
So, what are parents to do? According to Mummy Pages, some parents have taken to calling out brands on social media and shaming them online. Others have essentially boycotted companies that charge higher prices based solely on gender.
As a mother, I strive to teach my children about justice, fairness, and respect. For this reason, I find the “pink tax” to be a shameful practice that ought to be illegal across the board. But until then, I don’t mind teaching my kids the value of voting with our dollars by refusing to support companies that think nothing of overcharging our daughters.
h/t: Mummy Pages