What the Pink Tax is and Why It Needs to Go

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This month, your social feeds will most likely be full of stories highlighting powerful, badass women who took risks and made history. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Let’s acknowledge how far we’ve come and then remember we still have so much work left to do.

First fun fact: in 2019, women made $.79 to every $1 made by a man, and that gap only grows for women of color. Second fun fact: women are consistently charged more for the products they buy, across the board. Let’s dive into the fascinating (and frustrating) topic of the Pink Tax.

According to the campaign #AxThePinkTax, the average woman is charged an extra $1,351 every year. That means a woman in her early 30’s has paid over $45k extra so far in her lifetime. Let’s dive into why this is happening: It isn’t some new trick corporations are pulling. It’s been around for decades when the US government drafted the sales tax system. Back then, in the 1930s to 1960s, the world was obviously much different than it is today.

The government assumed that in most cases, men worked and women stayed home, so the tax structure reflected a household vs. an individual. Now, a single woman living her best solo life is still expected to pay taxes as if she was bringing home the bacon to a 3+ person family. In addition to archaic taxes, companies tend to spend more money on design and marketing for women’s products, something they often pass onto the consumer. We never asked for a pink, bedazzled razor that smells like peaches, so why should we pay extra for wanting a clean shave?

Let’s get back to some statistics. In 2015, the New York City department of consumer affairs conducted a study, From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer, and what they discovered is a little frustrating, to say the least. After looking at over 750 products, they found that women’s products cost 7% more than similar products for men. And the biggest offender? Personal care products. That’s where the difference in cost jumps to 13%. I’m sure you’re thinking that tampons must not be included because they are a necessity, right? Think again. Although some states have gotten their act together and exempted them from sales tax, 36 states will tax tampons as a luxury item. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a woman who would call her period luxurious.

Here are some things you can do you about it:
  • Do your research. Find companies that are aware of this problem and are doing something about it with gender-neutral pricing. Here at Curie, we make products for men, women, and all humans in motion. Our gender neutral products are and always will be the same price no matter who buys them.
  • Compare prices. Before you reach for the tried and true product you’ve always used, take a moment to look at the prices of similar products that are “made” for men. And then go with the cheaper option.
  • Call your state representative. Is there anything more satisfying than calling your elected official? We think not. Jackie Speier, a Democratic representative from California’s 14th congressional district, introduced a bill on April 3, 2019 asking Congress to repeal the Pink Tax. While it has a slim chance of being enacted according to govtrack.us it shows that politicians will take this seriously.
So, consider your shopping habits and give your representative a call this Women’s History Month. It’s time we stopped paying extra while making less. It’s 2020, after all.

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