What is the pink tax? Women who already earn less on average than men are often paying a premium for items marketed towards women.

A recent study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs surveyed 800 products and found that in 42% of cases women pay more for the same product as men.  This costs women an average of $1,351 more a year.  Old Navy, for example, charges more for women’s plus size clothing, but does not for men’s plus size clothing.  The first things we can do is become aware shoppers looking at the price per-ounce. Companies try to hide these differences by using different shapes and sizes.  As a woman who loves pink and does not want to wear a musky smelling deodorant, just becoming a conscious shopper is not enough.  We need to call out brands on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and publicly shame them when we notice a different price for like items.

This problem is not just limited to products, but services as well. Candace Elliott reported that, “Northwestern did a study that had men and women asking about the cost of having a radiator replaced.  Women who seemed clueless were quoted $406 for a job that should cost $365.  Men who simply acted uninformed were quoted $383.”

There is currently no Federal law on the books preventing businesses from charging women more for services and products than men.  Some states and cities have begun to put laws into place.  In 1995, California became the first state to ban charging women more for services than men. This law made it illegal to charge more to dry clean a women’s shirt than a men’s shirt, a common practice.  New York City brought a similar law in 1998, but unfortunately these laws seem to rarely be enforced.

Lets talk about the tampon tax.  Women in California spend an average of $7 a month on tampons and sanitary pads for approximately 40 years.  That adds up to over $20 million dollars paid in sales taxes for the state annually.  Tampons and sanitary napkins are a basic necessity. Women cannot chose whether or not to have a period. There are many women who struggle to pay for women’s hygiene products and states should not be profiting off of a basic necessity for women.  Christina Garcia, a California Assemblywoman pushed for a bill to eliminate this tax, which was subsequently vetoed by Governor Brown.

Check below to see if your state taxes feminine hygiene products:

The first thing we can do is become aware that we as woman make less and pay more for products and services than men.  We can push our states for legislation to make this practice illegal. We can call out and boycott companies who practice this kind of behavior.  I admit it I love products that are pink and I don’t want to quit buying them, but I will make a conscious effort to spend my money with companies that do not practice this kind of behavior.