The next time you walk into a store, try this fun little exercise. Look at the price of a product that’s sold for both men and women like shampoo. Notice anything? The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found something interesting: women were paying more for the same product across all product categories like clothes, personal care products, and accessories, than men.
Sadly, there’s even a term for this pricing scheme; it’s called the pink tax. The pink tax is a slightly higher price that women pay for products that are no different from those that are sold to men. Although the pink tax is not a new concept (it’s actually been around for decades!), it has recently resurfaced for another reason. It turns out that some personal hygiene products that are made specifically for women (especially menstruation products) also include an additional state tax. Many think that this tax is unfair and are now standing up for their rights as consumers. Why should they pay more for something just because it’s a product made for women?
As with most fights, there are loud protests on both sides of the argument. Those who argue for the tax believe that when you make a product tax-exempt (or tax-free), the state loses out from the revenue that the tax would have generated. Those against the tax believe that menstrual products are a necessity and should therefore not be taxed, similar to grocery items and prescription drugs.
Now what? Twenty-two states have introduced bills to eliminate taxes on menstrual products, but none have actually become laws just yet. And while there’s still a tax for menstrual products in Virginia, the amount taxed has decreased.
Do you think the pink tax is fair? What would you propose so that those for and against the pink tax are happy? Share your thoughts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.