When you shop for men’s items versus women’s items, you’ve likely noticed a difference. Men can still buy 100% cotton jeans, while women’s only choices are jeans with a fraction of cotton and a much greater percentage of synthetic fibers. Men’s underclothing is fairly basic without a lot of variety, while women have many, many more choices for undergarments. But are these the only differences, or are there financial differences? Is pink tax real or just a myth?
What Is Pink Tax?
Pink tax is not an actual tax. Rather it’s the practice of many manufactures to charge more for products marketed to women compared to similar products marketed to men.
Is Pink Tax Real or Just a Myth?
Unfortunately, pink tax is real. You’ll especially notice pink tax in the personal care items—shampoo, razors, body soap, etc.
A Double Burden
Pink tax is just one way women are at an economic disadvantage to men. Not only do they typically get charged more for similar items than men, but they also generally make less money. Women are typically paid 20% less for the same job that a man does. When you combine both of these situations, women are at a financial disadvantage their entire lives.
Other Ways Women Must Pay More than Men
In a myriad of other ways, women must pay more than men for necessities.
While pink tax is present when you buy clothes and personal care items, it is even more expensive when it comes to health insurance. Before the Affordable Care Act passed, insurance providers routinely charged women more than men for health insurance. They argued that it was due to women having pregnancies, which can be costly. Thankfully, that practice isn’t as common now.
All women need to buy menstrual care items such as pads and tampons. However, many states charge sales tax on these items. Thirteen states no longer charge sales tax on these necessary items, but 37 states still do. In a country where food and medicine are not typically taxed, this additional burden is unfair to women.
How to Avoid Pink Tax
Now that you know what this tax is, what can you do about it? The simplest way to avoid pink tax is to avoid those items specifically marketed to women. You could choose to buy the men’s product instead. After all, men’s razors work just as well as women’s.
Another option is to choose to buy gender-neutral items and support those companies that offer gender-neutral products.
In addition, take the time to write to those companies that charge a pink tax. Compare prices on their items and let them know that you will no longer support their company because you resent paying extra for similar products simply because you’re a woman.
Finally, contact your lawmakers to let them know you want to see them fight for change. Lawmakers have already been effective at abolishing the sales tax on menstrual items in some states. They can continue to work to make pricing fairer for women.
Unfortunately, pink tax is real. However, you can avoid it by buying gender-neutral items. Contacting the offending companies and your local representatives may also help eventually abolish the practice of this tax.