Pink Tax? What is that?

The term pink tax refers to gender-based pricing of certain goods and services, where the items marketed towards women tend to cost more than those marketed for men.

Statistically, women earn approximately only 80% of what men do in yearly wages, and this gap is further worse for women of color. The pay gap isn't as noticeable for younger women, but has the tendency to grow for women over the age of 35. The extra charges imposed by the woman tax, even if they may seem small for each item, can add up to an average of $1,351 per year, which isn't a negligible figure.

Societal impositions on women about how they should look and act aids in the normalization of the tagged-on price differences. The phrase "shrink it and pink it," describing the creation of products marketed towards women to be smaller and more "feminine" looking, takes advantage of it, and can result in the item containing less of the product than the version aimed at their male consumers.

It's real, really.

Example comparisons of price differences in the real world affected by yours truly.. the pink tax.


Both adults' and childrens' clothing are affected by the pink tax. A 2015 NYC study found that clothes for adult women cost an average of 8% more, while clothes for girls cost about 4% more than for boys.

Toys & Accessories

Toys and accessories that are marketed towards girls tend to cost about 7% more than those marketed towards boys. These include scooters, bikes, backpacks, helmets and arts & crafts supplies.

Personal Care Items

Toiletries and items used for self care are some of the most affected products, costing an average of 13% more for women. The highest impacted items are shampoos, conditioners, and razor cartridges.

The tampon tax.

In the United States, most states impose a sales tax on feminine hygiene products—this is better known as the tampon tax. These products are labeled as luxuries or non-necessities, rather than medical essentials, subjecting them to the extra tax which most heavily impacts those who are financially disadvantaged.

The tax may not seem like much, but over the course of an approximate 40 years during which a woman menstruates, an added tax to a monthly expense on feminine hygiene products really adds up.

New York eliminated its sales tax on menstrual hygiene products just this year in late July, joining the few others who have previously removed the tax, including Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Illinois with be enacting the removal of the tax in January 2017, and Connecticut will follow suit in July 2018. Canada lifted the tampon tax nationwide in July 2015.


From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer

A 2015 study of New York City's gender pricing. It goes over the methodology of the study, the collected data, and the effect is has on women. It contains comparisons of price breakdowns for items affected by the pink tax, including toys, clothing, accessories, personal care items, and health care products.

The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap

An in-depth report written by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) on the gender pay inequality in the United States. It goes over how it differs for women of different races, education levels, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, and disability status. Additionally, it addresses some possible ways of helping to close the gap.


An online store that sells items in bulk, such as groceries, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and office supplies. They are taking a stand against the pink tax by reducing the prices of women's products that are more expensive than the equivalent marketed towards men. They also do not charge a sales tax on feminine hygiene products, encouraging consumers to #RethinkPink.

Woman Tax Blog

A French blog ran by Georgette Sand, which highlights price differences between gendered products. The posts feature photos of similar items found in stores, which reflect the pink tax in the real world.

©Karolina Wnorowska 2016