The Pink Tax: How Much More Women Are Paying For the Same Products as Men

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STATELINE (WIFR) -- It's a matter of pink versus blue. Some are calling it gender injustice, a discriminatory tax, or the Pink Tax. All three terms refer to the extra money women are charged for certain products or services, simply because they're women.

"Shaving cream," Christine Diebold explains, "They put it in a pink can and charge four or five dollars for it. I can get the same item for a dollar something."

Christine Diebold has been trying to find away around the Pink Tax for years. She tends to buy the blue product rather than the pink.

"I was on a very limited income," says Diebold, "I was going to food pantries, living on unemployment check to unemployment check; double couponing; and I said, 'Why should I pay $5 for some product when I can get it for a dollar?'"

One very clear example is deodorant. The deodorant marketed for its clinical protection costs $5.99 for men and $7.99 for women, and that's just one example.

It's not just the cost of deodorant and shaving cream. On average, women are charged 7% more for self care products, vehicle repair, and clothing.

According to a recent study by the New York Department of Consumer Affairs: in a survey of 800 products, in 42% of cases, women paid more for the same items as men.

Women pay about 13% more for personal care products, 8% more for adult clothing, 7% more for toys and accessories, and 4% more for children's clothing.

"Since women still don't make as much money as men overall," says Catherine Orr, Professor & Chairman of Identities Studies at Beloit College, "It seems a little bit more unfair that we're paying more for things like toiletries, car repairs, or things like that."

Beloit College student, Dinesh McGinty, agrees, "It's very unfortunate that we live in a culture that institutionalizes sexism with a tax."

Another part of the Pink Tax includes the tax on feminine hygiene products. The average state-wide tax in Illinois is 6.25% and in some areas, as high as 10% or more.

State legislators are working on proposals to eliminate the tax on tampons. Republican Representative John Cabello says when the bill reaches the House, he plans to speak up.

"I'd vote yes to eliminate it," explains Cabello, "We all want to be equal now a-days and if someone's paying a higher percentage, that just doesn't seem right."

Orr believes we can do something about it. "People can educate themselves. They can also draw attention to their retailers; say, at a Walgreens store, talk to the manager and ask why the products cost more. 'Is it because it's for women?' We can also talk to our legislators about it." Orr believes that women can also follow Diebold's lead, and buy the blue.

"I do the same thing today with clearance tennis shoes," says Diebold, "The men's pair will be on the rack for $9.99 and the women's pink pair will be $29.99 so I get the men's. They fit and wear the same!"

The Pink Tax isn't just an issue affecting Illinois residents. It's a national and international issue that's been happening for years. Nation-wide, 40 states tax feminine hygiene products, deeming them "luxury items," instead of necessities.

Representative Cabello says he doesn't know how soon the bill aimed at eliminating the tax will be presented in front of the House.



 
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