‘Pink Tax’ costs females more for everyday products

Giancarlo Lizarraga, Staff Writer

From sparkling pink scooters to silk moisturizing razors, on average products marketed towards females cost seven percent more than those marketed towards males.
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) found that 42 percent of women’s products cost more than men’s compared to the 18 percent of men’s products that cost more than women’s.
This disparity between the prices of goods gendered for males and females has come to be known as the “pink tax,” referring to the western cultural association of the color pink with women.
Some of Bear Creek’s students are uninformed about the magnitude of this inequality.
“That’s how high it goes!” senior Brian Berna-Trout said. “I didn’t know it’d be that expensive.”
In 1994, California estimated that women were paying $1,351 as an annual gender tax. Following this investigation the state enacted the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1995, prohibiting business establishments from discriminating against a person’s gender for services of similar or like kind.
For instance, the identical service of laundering a white cotton shirt cost women 27 percent more in a 1992 study by the DCA.
“I think it’s so unfair,” senior Angelica Vargas said on these increased expenses for females. “I think we should stand up for our rights.”
Efforts are being made to remove the pink tax, such as Senate Bill 899 that will serve as an amendment to the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1995 and was introduced by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego).
The bill prohibits retailers from pricing goods based on a person’s gender, but as of now it is in California’s Judiciary Committee process with a second hearing needed before it could become law.
Females do have what seems to be a simple fix for this dilemma: just buy and use men’s products.
For example, some of Berna-Trout’s female family members use male products because they are cheaper than female products.
“My sister likes my cologne; she wears it sometimes,” Berna-Trout said of his sibling.
It is not uncommon for females to choose products designed for another gender because of factors other than the pink tax.
Products not labeled for a specific gender could be considered unisex, but those with specifically male varieties still show lower price.
“I get men’s deodorant, it lasts longer,” sophomore Jenna Bacich said.
The marketing of these goods could be attributed to the product’s manufacturers, but for the most part decisions on price and style fall under the retailers.
While some products analyzed in the DCA study were clearly marked as “men’s” or “women’s” others did not indicate a gender but showed designs such as curves, bright colors, or claims of improving appearances.
Commodities affected by the pink tax are not limited to personal care or goods for younger consumers. Canes, laxatives, and supports and braces are just some of the items with specified male and female versions, though the majority of senior products are made as unisex.
Children’s toys and accessories are also not exempt from this differentiation of prices for products.
On average, females pay seven percent more for female-oriented products, with helmets and pads having the largest price discrepancy by costing nearly 13 percent more.
Even with the luck that Bacich and other women may have in dodging the pink tax, most consumers are unable to elude the price differences of products offered in the market because they do not have control over the textiles or ingredients used by manufacturers.
“That’s not fair,” Bacich said. “That’s sexist.”