What Is the 'Pink Tax?' New York Lawmakers Could Soon End Discriminatory Pricing of Women's Products

The state of New York could soon pass a bill which would make it illegal for products to be priced higher when they are aimed towards women. Senate Bill S2679, sponsored by Democratic senator Shelley B. Mayer, hopes to address a long-standing issue of toys, clothing or personal hygiene products such as shampoo or razors costing more if they are marketed towards females.

The discrepancy in the costs is refereed as the "pink tax" as sometimes the only difference between products is the color. The bill aims to "prohibit the discriminatory practices relating to the cost of goods of a substantially similar or like kind" purely based on gender, and is currently on the floor calendar awaiting a vote from the Senate.

In 2015, New York's Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) released a report entitled "From Cradle To Cane: The Cost Of Being A Female Consumer" which detailed the cost of the so-called pink tax.

The report found that on average, women's products cost seven percent more than similar products for men, with woman paying eight percent more for adult clothing and 13 percent more for personal care products.

"In all but five of the 35 product categories analyzed, products for female consumers were priced higher than those for male consumers. Across the sample, DCA found that women's products cost more 42 percent of the time while men's products cost more 18 percent of the time," the reports added.

If the bill passes, any business found to have violated the law would be fined a maximum of $250 for the first offense and no more than $500 for each subsequent violation.

Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat, is hoping the removal of the pink tax can be expanded across the nation.

"Women have been subjected to lower class in society, at the same time they've been charged more at the store," Rosenthal told the Times Union. "That's something we need to reverse."

In 2016, New York announced it will be scrapping the so-called tampon tax which saw women paying sales tax on feminine hygiene products.

"This is a regressive tax on essential products that women have had to pay for far too long and lifting it is a matter of social and economic justice," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement at the time.

The move was estimated to save women in New York purchasing tampons and other similar products around $10 million a year.

pink tax
Shampoo bottles are displayed at a supermarket in Herouville Saint-Clair, northwestern France, on February 26, 2013. Lawmakers in New York are considering a bill that would it illegal for businesses to charge more for a product based on gender. AFP/CHARLY TRIBALLEAU