How would you feel if I told you that, on average, women pay 13% more for personal care items than men do? And that it’s not because yours are more luxurious or have special ingredients? It’s because they’re pink and smell like strawberries. In fact, for decades, women have paid substantially more per item than men for the exact same product! Welcome to Pink Tax.
What is Pink Tax?
In reality, Pink Tax isn’t precisely a tax: it’s a product upcharge based on your gender. This price discrepancy applies to everything women use from birth onward. This includes toys, clothes, dry cleaning, and of course, personal care products. In many cases, females pay as much 50% more for gender-specific items than males do!
This gender-discrimination is most clearly seen in personal care products. The exact same items cost noticeably more for women-branded ones. This is a big deal for most women. These costs severely add up over time, especially on products you have to buy frequently like razors or women’s underwear.
But let me introduce you to another fun fact—one that specifically applies to your vagina. Women’s hygiene products are taxed as “luxury” items. That’s right—the government considers your ability to take care of your period a luxury. At the moment, 36 states still charge tampon tax on your necessary items. Unfortunately, tax issues can only be changed on a state-by-state basis, so a full revamp of this situation will take some time.
What Can We Do About Pink Tax?
Congresswoman Jackie Speier has been fighting this issue for over two decades. In 1995, she was able to pass a bill preventing gender-discrimination on services. But her 2018 bill didn’t get a vote. She is now reintroducing her bill. This is a serious issue that puts women at a stark financial disadvantage to care for themselves. How many years have you spent unknowingly paying more than you should?
By now, you’re probably wondering what you can do to avoid pink tax and its evil little sister tampon tax.
The obvious solution to pink tax is to start shopping for personal care products in the men’s aisle. It shouldn’t have to be, but it’s a start. By choosing male-branded products over the ones in the ladies’ section, you can avoid many unfair upcharges. Unfortunately, you’ll be stuck with the women’s brands for female-only items like makeup remover, hygienic wipes, and some hair products.
What About Tampon Tax?
For now you can use companies that focus on facing pricing inequality head on. Meet Boxed, a company dedicated to fighting the inequalities of the pink tax, including tampon tax.
Their website sells popular personal care products, including tampons and pads, at the rate they should be sold. Every item on their Rethink Pink page is marked as “Pink Tax Free” and shows the comparative list prices elsewhere. Most things come in bulk, so you’ll be stocked up for quite a while. They even have coupons for brands like Tampax and Always, saving you even more versus the store.
Thankfully, America has seen many women-friendly changes happening over the past few years. Closing that wage gap, putting a bigger focus on women’s health, and making birth control free for all. Hopefully, America wakes up to this discrimination issue soon and realizes that Pink Tax is a slight to every woman born into this “land of equality.”
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.