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The “Pink Tax”

The “Pink Tax” term may sound silly but it’s a real thing that costs women a bundle every year. The Pink Tax refers to the extra amount women are charged for products directly marketed to girls and women. Research of the Pink Tax shows that overall women pay more than men 42% of the time… Roughly $1,351.00 more a year in extra costs.

Chances are if you’re a woman, you’ve been paying the Pink Tax for decades. Read on to learn which products are affected by the Pink Tax and how to avoid the higher prices.

Apparel – Girls clothing cost 4% more than boys and women’s clothing cost 8% more than men’s clothing. A side by side comparison of short-sleeved, red polo shirts used as uniforms from the same retailer, showed a $2.00 difference despite no obvious difference in quality or style.

Toys – Girl’s toys and accessories cost an average of 7% more than boys’ toys – mostly due to the fact that girl’s toys are pink and brightly colored. A side-by-side comparison of two Radio Flyer My 1st Scooters showed a red scooter was priced at $24.99 while the pink scooter cost $49.00 – despite the scooters being identical in all other aspects.

Personal Care – On average, women’s personal care products cost 13% more then men’s. These are items like deodorants, razors and hair care products. Often the only noticeable difference between the female and male versions of products is the packaging and the scent. Aside from surface level design, the products are not substantially different. In some cases, women actually paid more for fewer products than their male counterparts.

Dry Cleaning – Dry cleaners are another place where women will pay more for the same service. Women’s shirts (on average) cost $4.95 to get dry cleaned while men’s shirts average about $2.86. This, of course, depends on the location and business, but on average women’s clothing articles cost more to get dry cleaned then men’s – when oftentimes, women’s clothing consists of lesser, smaller materials.

You can take a stand against the Pink Tax by simply turning away or avoiding it. If you are buying a product that is specifically marketed to women, featuring an unnecessary feminine design or boasts being created just for women, do a price check. Is there a similar gender neutral product or even a product for men that cost less? Compare prices for different colors, unit count or weight. This is a great option for personal care products which are often very similar no matter whom they are marketed to. If the active ingredients are the same, you are not going to get any cleaner using the women’s version.

When you are shopping for your children, look for gender-neutral options. While this stategy may only save you a few bucks this shopping trip, those savings will add up over the year.

Unfortunately, buying a different product isn’t always a viable option when shopping for clothes. Men’s clothes have different fits and styles then women’s clothes. In this case, your best bet is deal-hunting and watching for bargains to avoid paying full price when you can.

The Pink Tax is neither fair nor justified, but it still persists in everyday products. Armed with knowledge and working together, we can take a stand to be wary of the Pink Tax. At least until retailers realize women are on their game.

Click here for the full study: From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of being a Female Consumer