Most women go shopping at the drugstore, picking up the pink razor over the blue one without event thinking twice. Turns out, women end up paying more for their purchases because products marketed towards women are priced higher than those for men.
A recent study from The New York City Consumer Affairs has found that products for females cost 42 percent more overall than products geared towards men, with personal care products for women costing 13 percent more than men and clothing on average eight percent more.
This inflation, dubbed “The Pink Tax” by The New York Times, affects everything from medicine to children’s toys. For instance, the recent study referenced the “Radio Flyer My First Scooter” sold online on Target for both girls and boys. The red version of the scooter cost $24.99, while the same exact version of the scooter, just with a pink exterior, was listed at $49.99.
At Walgreens, Excedrin Complete Menstrual is set 50 cents higher than Excedrin Extra Strength, although they both contain 250 milligrams of aspirin, 250 mg of acetaminophen, and 65 mg of caffeine. Deodorant is priced the same, but men receive 2.7 ounces while women receive 2.6.
Target’s price for the scooters were eventually fixed, but this discrepancy was not an anomaly. Women are frequently charged more for products, despite the existing wage gap that still has women earning 79 cents for every man’s dollar. The increased prices are often blamed on competitive prices, production costs, or extra quality of service, but the numbers often don’t stop at products. Women pay on average 25 percent more for haircuts and 27 percent more to dry clean a white cotton shirt.
This gender-based pricing is nothing new, but there are some existing laws that ban discrimination in certain types of pricing. The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from factoring gender into cost, and in New York State, gender discrimination for the pricing of services is not allowed, making it illegal for businesses to charge more for a haircut or dry cleaning based on their sex. This doesn’t mean, though, that the rules are always followed. Violations of these laws was up from 118 to 129 from 2014 to 2015. And there is no federal law prohibiting gender price differences in products.
Companies know they can make an extra profit off of these price discrepancies, as women are often willing to pay a more premium price for certain products, but often there is no real reason for these higher costs. Many times the “pink” version of is exactly the same as a unisex or male version of the product, just with a more “feminine” color.
Since there really is no difference in quality, you may want to think twice next time you grab the female deodorant, as you may be shelling out a few extra dollars than necessary.