What Is the Pink Tax? Impact on Women, Regulation, and Laws

What Is the Pink Tax?

Researchers in gender inequality usually level to what’s often called the “pink tax,” a markup on items and companies marketed to girls and for which males pay much less for comparable services and products. A number of years in the past, the difficulty received a number of consideration when New York Metropolis’s Division of Client Affairs discovered many cases of gendered pricing when it examined 794 merchandise bought within the metropolis for customers of all ages. Nevertheless, researchers have been noticing and analyzing this phenomenon since no less than the Nineties.

Key Takeaways

  • Tutorial research, authorities research, and girls going about their day by day lives have encountered many cases of merchandise marketed towards girls that price greater than almost equivalent merchandise focused towards males—and much fewer examples of the alternative.
  • The pink tax isn’t an precise tax, however many attire merchandise designed for ladies have increased import tariffs than males’s counterparts.
  • A whole bunch of services and products have been discovered to have a pink tax.
  • A handful of state and native governments have rules to ban gendered value discrimination. The U.S. federal authorities doesn’t, although payments have been launched.

Makes an attempt To Regulate the Pink Tax

When an organization sells a pink product (the feminine model) for greater than a blue product (the male model), the extra income from the pink product doesn’t go to the federal government. The one beneficiaries of the “pink tax” are the businesses who cost girls greater than males.

The “tampon tax,” against this, is an precise gross sales tax that many states impose on female hygiene merchandise, a price that’s largely borne by menstruating women and girls (although additionally, in lots of circumstances, by their fathers or husbands). It is a separate challenge from the pink tax, and though it’s associated, we received’t be discussing it right here. The pink tax additionally doesn’t consult with the price of gadgets corresponding to lipstick and menstrual merchandise that many ladies use and pay for all through their lives however that the majority males don’t.

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A number of states have handed legal guidelines in opposition to discriminatory gender-based pricing of services and products. There’s additionally been no less than one try to cross such a legislation on the federal stage. The aim is to manage seemingly unjust value discrepancies out of existence. In spite of everything, girls already earn much less earnings; why ought to in addition they pay extra for equal services and products?

“Repeal the pink tax” is a advertising slogan. Gender-based value discrepancies usually are not a tax and due to this fact can’t be repealed.


In 1996, Governor Pete Wilson of California applied the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1995 requiring retailers to cost ladies and men the identical value if a service took the identical time, price, and ability to supply. It was particularly aimed toward companies corresponding to haircuts, dry cleansing, clothes alterations, automobile repairs, and different companies—not at merchandise.

The invoice’s writer, Assemblywoman Jackie Speier, informed the Los Angeles Instances that it was the primary state legislation of its type. On the time, the time period “gender tax” was used to explain such a obvious value discrimination. An earlier model of the invoice that additionally focused merchandise didn’t cross.

New York Metropolis

Equally, in 1998, New York Metropolis’s then-mayor, Rudy Giuliani, signed a invoice aimed toward stopping retail institutions corresponding to haircutters and dry cleaners from basing costs solely on gender. It allowed the town’s Division of Client Affairs to gather fines from violators. Particularly, the legislation prohibits the show of discriminatory pricing, which means you shouldn’t see an indication that claims “girls’s haircut $45, males’s haircut $25” once you stroll right into a New York Metropolis hairdresser.

New Yorkers can report gender-pricing complaints by means of the town’s 311 web site.

Miami-Dade County

This Florida county’s gender value discrimination ordinance applies to each items and companies. Miami-Dade County’s Client Providers Division is in command of implementing this native legislation, which applies to all forms of sellers, from particular person to company. It prohibits value discrimination based mostly solely on the client’s gender however permits value variations based mostly on the time, problem, or price of offering a superb or service. Complaints will be reported to the division in writing. Aggrieved events can sue the violating occasion for damages, legal professional’s charges, and courtroom prices.

United States Home of Representatives

Speier, who sponsored the 1995 California act, additionally launched a Pink Tax Repeal Act on the federal stage in 2016. The invoice has been reintroduced a number of occasions however has not handed. Its goal is “to ban the pricing of client services and products which might be considerably comparable if such services or products are priced in a different way based mostly on the gender of the people for whose use the merchandise are supposed or marketed or for whom the companies are carried out or supplied.” Corporations violating the legislation can be thought of in violation of the Federal Commerce Fee’s unfair or misleading acts or practices guidelines affecting interstate commerce.

The Actual Pink Tax: Unequal Tariffs on Ladies’s Items

Most discussions of the pink tax usually are not about an precise tax, however in a single occasion they’re: import tariffs. In america, clothes firms pay increased import tariffs on girls’s gadgets—corresponding to silk shirts, wool jackets, cotton fits, swimsuit jackets, blazers, leather-based footwear, and golf footwear—in response to a research printed by Texas A&M College’s Mosbacher Institute, which focuses on commerce, economics, and public coverage. On the boys’s attire aspect, import tariffs are increased on cotton shirts, wool fits, artificial fiber fits, and swimwear. Some items haven’t any gender-based tariff distinction, whereas others have massive variations. Total, tariffs on girls’s gadgets are increased.

Clothes firms can deal with this discrepancy by growing the worth of the merchandise with the upper import tariff, which can lead to a gender-based value distinction that’s truly based mostly on the merchandise’s price. The opposite choice is to cost each gadgets equally (assuming they’re in any other case the identical), which suggests both the producer, the retailer, or the buyer takes successful. A 2007 lawsuit by clothes firms in opposition to the U.S. authorities tried however did not eradicate these tariff discrepancies.

The tariff discrepancy persists. A 2020 research printed within the journal American Political Science Evaluation describes a research protecting 20 years’ value of tariffs on males’s and girls’s attire in 167 international locations. The research’s authors discovered that “imports of girls’s items, on common, are taxed 0.7% greater than imports of males’s items” and contribute to the pink tax. In addition they discovered that growing girls’s illustration in legislatures may assist treatment the issue.

“Governments can contribute to gendered value discrimination by means of distinct tariff charges on…merchandise which might be basically equivalent in type, save for the gender of their goal client. Increased import taxes on girls’s variations of products are in flip handed on to wholesalers, then retailers, and at last imposed upon girls customers.” —Timm Betz, David Fortunato, and Diana Z. O’Brien, “Ladies’s Descriptive Illustration and Gendered Import Tax Discrimination.”

Why the Pink Tax Is Not a $1,351 Downside

A 1994 evaluation carried out for the legislation that the California Senate ultimately handed because the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1995 (AB 1100) acknowledged that girls had been paying $1,351 extra per yr for comparable services and products in comparison with males. This 1994 determine remains to be extensively quoted as if it had been present. For instance, the College of Missouri-Kansas Metropolis consists of the determine in a brief write-up on the pink tax, or #AxThePinkTax on social media.

It’s extremely unlikely that this determine remains to be correct, and easily adjusting it for inflation wouldn’t make it correct both. Adjustments in product costs based mostly on provide and demand, together with campaigns to neutralize gender discrepancies, have definitely altered the quantity since then. It’s comprehensible, although, that nobody has tried to replace the determine, as performing that sort of calculation is an enormous enterprise. Nonetheless, quoting outdated estimates doesn’t do girls any favors.

How Does the Pink Tax Work?

The pink tax isn’t a tax within the literal sense. It refers to how girls pay extra for a similar, or comparable, services and products than males.

Does the Pink Tax Nonetheless Exist?

Whereas the pink tax isn’t an precise tax, it stills exists. A number of state and native governments have legal guidelines to ban value discrimination based mostly on gender, however the federal authorities doesn’t.

What Are Examples of the Pink Tax?

There are tons of of services and products which might be topic to the so-called pink tax. Attire, corresponding to a pair of denims, or companies like a haircut, are just a few frequent examples. Youngsters’s toys marketed to women are one other instance.

The Backside Line

The pink tax might not be an precise tax, besides within the case of disparate import tariffs on girls’s attire. However tons of of merchandise marketed towards girls find yourself costing greater than almost equivalent merchandise focused towards males. Proof of gendered value discrimination clearly exists, even when there may be room to debate why it exists or how critical or expensive an issue it’s.