Ethically, Should There Be a “Pink Tax”?

5 Dec

Did you know that there are several instances when women pay more than men for the same goods and services? For example, nationwide, many dry cleaners charge a higher fee for a woman’s “blouse” than a man’s “shirt” — even if the items are exactly the same. This practice has become known as the pink tax. We’re at the end of 2016, and this practice is still in effect.

Consider the following excerpts from a report by Glenn Taylor for Retail TouchPoints

When lowered the costs of feminine products sold on its site, it brought awareness to the issue of the ‘pink tax’ — the higher prices charged for female-marketed products such as razors, deodorants, and body wash compared to similar marketed-to-male products. But hasn’t been the only brand seeking to raise awareness about the pricing gap.”

A recent RetailWire article spotlighted the actions of New York City pharmacy Thompson Chemists, which charged a one-day 7% ‘man tax’ in response to the pink tax. Although the drugstore didn’t actually add on a tax for male shoppers, it did give females a 7% discount on all items throughout the store. The 7% discount reflected a study from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs indicating that women’s products across a wide range of hygiene categories cost 7% more than men’s products sold in the city. As if this added tax wasn’t enough, feminine hygiene products also fall under the ‘luxury’ tax designation in 39 states, which means a 9% sales tax is charged for items such as pads and tampons.”

“Like many politically sensitive or gender-charged actions, the pharmacy’s tax was met with sharply divided opinions from consumers. While the move was reportedly received well in the store, it resulted in a flood of largely negative comments online as the story went viral.”


Click the image to read more on this topic from Retail TouchPoints.


32 Responses to “Ethically, Should There Be a “Pink Tax”?”

  1. Minghao Frederic Wang December 5, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    I cannot believe that there is an unequal payment for male and female though they are at the same position, even there is a tax (or extra tax) discrimination by gender in the US. I can’t understand why this policy can be applied because it is totally a sexual gender discrimination. I googled PINK TAX and found that a congresswoman, Jackie Speier, tried to “stop this gender-based discrimination in the pricing of products” this July. Hope this law can be blocked.

  2. Frank Giacalone December 5, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    The whole concept of the pink tax is ridiculous. I don’t believe that women’s feminine hygiene products should be considered a “luxury” while mens are considered a necessity. If the women’s product actually costs more than the mans, then there should not be a mans tax to compensate for the women’s. They should, however, stop considering women’s hygiene products a luxury and taxing them more. According to CBS money watch, women earn 80 cents for every $1 men earn, so this pink tax on top of that is just unfair to women. There needs to be a compensation for women who are unfairly being charged more for a product that cost less for men, unless that product actually cost more to produce.

    • Stephen Locorriere December 6, 2016 at 11:28 am #

      The Pink tax is a completely unnecessary tax when it come to most of woman goods. The fact that tampons and paid fall under a “luxury good” category and a 9 percent tax rate is absurd. The only counter argument I could see is that normal mens hygiene products are probably made with less quality and have less of a brand name. Where female products are usually more expensive especially if you purchase a brand name because of the benefits you’re supposed to receive from it. This is an issue that many local officials should take more seriously, for example, a dry cleaned dress shirt is a dry cleaned dress shirt it should not matter wether it was a mans or a woman.

  3. Jeffrey Paljevic December 5, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

    I strongly disagree with the Pink Tax. All human beings should be taxed the same and treated fairly. There should be a remuneration for ladies who are unreasonably being charged more for an item that cost less for men, unless that item really cost more to deliver which in my cases it doesn’t. Say NO to the Pink Tax!

  4. Unice Kim December 5, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    When I was old enough to go out and but stuff for myself, I realized that female products are more expensive than male products. I always thought that there must be something special about female products because they are more expensive, however I have come to realize that there isn’t anything more special. Male shampoos, razors, body washes, clothes, and etc are significantly cheaper than female versions of the same product. I never knew that there was a term for this until I read this article. I find the Pink Tax every unfair in this day in age when people are fighting for gender equality.

  5. mightymarketingblog December 5, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    This pink tax should definitely be taken out, as with men paying more for insurance. As someone that has worked in two big CPG companies, I can say that there is a movement towards equality in pay between men and women. There is also a greater amount of top level executives that are female now. But as with everything else, it takes time.

  6. Daniel Frankel December 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

    The Pink Text is a very sexist and unnecessary tax. It should not exist if there are not taxes on men’s good. However, I feel that the tax should be abolished overall. These items are incredibly necessary for both women and men and the government should not exploit the inelasticity of these products. Taxing tobacco and alcohol is one thing because these substances are harmful to the body and potentially those around them. However, a tax on women’s necessary products is unfair.

  7. Yue Ma December 5, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    It’s super common to see this kind of unfair charges in the pricing. Another example flashes into my mind, even if the shampoos for men or women are completely identical, but because of branding, packaging,etc. It always charges more when it comes to women. I think one of the reasons is that men are more sensitive to price than women are. It’s my first time to know it has a name “Pink Tax” for this kind of unfair charges, personally, I hate this kind of unnecessary and sexist thing.

  8. Jenny December 5, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

    It can be seen as gender discrimination. The reason that it can grab people’s attention is might because it was recently found out and not accepted as normal situation YET. Thinking about when we going out with friends. Some clubs will charge for men and no charge for women. This is also can be gender discrimination, but since it is become “normal situation”, people no longer mention it anymore. Gender discrimination and racial discrimination also can be addressed in a wrong way

    I remember that Facebook had to apologize for excluding users by race when they advertising. In my opinion, it is just one part of marketing and it is understandable for they want to get highest ROI.

    Because discrimination is a sensitive subject, sometimes people thinking crazy.

  9. angusmanxiong December 5, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    I can not understand why they put the pink tax in women. Since women have a more great purchase power and consumption of goods, it is ridiculous to charge women with Pink Tax. I think the right thing they should to is to cancel the Pink Tax. It is a promotion to encourage more women to purchase females’ goods. Although women have fewer average wages than men, they have a more strong willing to purchase. So, I think they should take these things into account when they set up unfair price for women.

  10. congfeixie December 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

    In ethics aspect, it is a kind of discrimination and should be taken away. However, in pure marketing and financial aspect, It is fine. “Products which cost more when sold to women include deodorant, razors, Kleenex, soap, calculators, microscopes, clothing, haircuts, and bath sponges. Not only that, but these items are pink, for “sensitive skin” or carefully packaged in pastel colors, not a dark blue, so there is no doubt that a man buying such items is suffering from a supposed lack of testosterone.”
    It is easy to cancel the pink tax: just charging same to both men and women with the higher price. However, I don’t think it is a good idea. I used to buy shoes on Amazon and I found the same style shoes are with different price due to color. The black one is always the cheapest one and red may be more expensive. Does anyone feel unfair about this? I can understand that: the cost of red maybe more expensive than the black.
    As a conclusion, I believe the cost difference is the reason for pink tax.

  11. mjinmkt December 5, 2016 at 10:27 pm #

    I didn’t know Pink Tax before, but I think everyone should receive equal treatment. I have seen an article wrote that women drive more than 70% of all consumer purchasing. So it is not surprising that charge women for more would increase revenue. But for an ethic perspective, Pink Tax should be canceled so that everyone, no matter what gender they are, would be equally treated.

  12. Lucero Sosa December 6, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

    Going back to the title of the blog post, I do not believe there should be a “pink tax”. I noticed there was “pink tax” when I was looking for a solid white shirt for an event I had to attend. There were many options for a white shirt and surprisingly I noticed the women’s white shirt was more expense than the male’s white shirt. They were exactly the same, so I went on to buy the male’s shirt. Ever since then I have always noticed this pricing difference and I believe it needs to be changed.

  13. weiqingsun December 6, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

    I cannot believe that such a sexist phenomenon can exist so reasonably. Frankly, I cannot help to think that what if there is a “Black Tax”, an extra charge for black? It is just the same with the “Black Tax”! What will happen then? Every kind of customer should be treated equally, no matter gender or race. We are educated and expected to treat everyone equally, and this is what we women got? Hope the pink tax will not exist any longer.

  14. janet narain December 7, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    Frankly, the “pink tax” annoys me. It’s unnecessary and sexist. I’ve noticed it plenty of times. At CVS i decided to buy a men’s razor because it was cheaper. Honestly the only difference was that my old razor was pink and my new razor was blue. I know plenty of girls that have bought a mens tshirt instead of a womens tshirt. It is ridiculous to me that a woman has to pay more for items just because they are a woman. I’ve experienced it and I think it should be abolished.

  15. victoriauportfolio December 7, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

    The Pink Tax is completely ridiculous and unnecessary. Women are being charged more for the same item as men for absolutely no reason. Everyone should be taxed equally. I think its great that this pharmacy is attempting to fight the Pink Tax and shed light on this issue that not many are aware of. Even if they don’t accomplish much, its good that they’re opening up a discussion between consumers and companies.

  16. Jingxi Li December 10, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

    Female customers pay more on many kinds of products than male customers. I think the pink tax is a price tactic of the business to make more profit. First, the products which have pink tax are most daily necessities. In this market, female customers are more than male customers. Second, female customers are more likely to choose a specific female style product than a general one. They will feel the specific one’s cost is higher than a general one and want to pay more on it.

  17. Katharine Tomasino December 10, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

    Ethically, no, there should not be a “pink tax.” If two shirts are exactly the same, why charge more for the woman’s shirt? There is no difference aside from the fact that it’s a woman’s shirt. And that is just plain sexism. Feminine hygiene products are absolutely not “luxuries” and therefore should not have a higher tax. And it’s funny that when anything bad or negative happens to men it’s a big deal, but when the same happens to women it doesn’t get the same response. Everything should just be equal, period.

  18. Yangzom.mkt December 10, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

    I think this whole Pink Tax thing is so unfair. That is exactly a marketing and pricing tactics that taking advantage of female’s stronger shopping desire and a huge need. After all, in America(I believe not only in American but other countries also), female consumers make more than 80% of discretionary purchases, so the companies believe female will purchase whatever they want though the price is higher than male-products.I hope this Pink Tax policy can be abandon as early as possible.

  19. Qi (Evelyn) Wu December 11, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    I do notice that many women’s clothes are more expensive than men’s clothes. I thought it is just a marketing strategy to using a lower price to attract male customers since they have relatively low intention to buy clothes than female customers. Until I read this article, I start to know that there is a word to describe this phenomenon — “pink tax”. Pink tax is not literally a tax. It is the extra money charged for the female version products. Actually, as a female, I do not think this is a gender discrimination. The pricing is based on different market segments, and it still follows the market pricing rules. Many female consumers are not aware of price differences and are willing to pay more for something really the same as the male version. This is the same thing with “extra-large clothes charge the same price with extra-small clothes”. Maybe someone also thinks this is not fair since extra-large clothes cost more materials. But I think as long as the customer couldn’t notice the price difference or feels acceptable of the price difference, then the pricing is reasonable.

  20. Imani Brown December 11, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

    Women should definitely not have to pay 7% more for necessities such as razors or deodorants, and products such as pads and tampons should in no way be considered a luxury product, given the importance of them for female health. There are many companies, similar to, that have either lowered their costs, or even began marketing their products to women at the same price as those marketed to men. For example, the Dollar Shave Club markets the same types of razors to both men and women, and makes a point to comment that it wouldn’t make any sense for a woman to not be able to buy the same razor as a man.

  21. JingJi December 11, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

    It’s so surprising that there really is a ‘pink tax’. After reading this passage, whether there is some difference between the demand supply curves of female and male. Maybe male is more sensitive to price, which contradicts my common sense. Or maybe there is stereotype that female’s things is more delicate than male’s things, so female need to be charged more.

  22. Francesca Scotti December 11, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

    The “pink tax” is discriminatory towards women, the higher fees charged for identical goods and services is simply because it is being marketed to females. Some may say it is because women care more about their appearance therefore they are willing to pay more.

  23. Mana Tadbiri December 12, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    I am strongly against the pink tax. It is unethical to tax women on products that men believe is a “luxury” simply because they are not using them. Things like pads and tampons are definitely no luxuries, in fact, if most women could forego using them without giving up a basic level of comfort, they probably would. This tax is sexist in every way possible and just furthers the gap of equality between men and women. We already get paid less with 70% of every man’s dollar, why continue to divide that gap and tax us on necessities instead of bridging it?

  24. Qian Xiong December 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

    There should NOT be a pink tax! First of all, this is ridiculously unfair, those feminine items are considering necessary. If it should, then should we charge more for some certain male’s products such as condoms or bread foam something like that and call it blue tax? That’s so ridiculous funny.

  25. chelseayin December 15, 2016 at 11:57 pm #

    This is so unbelievable! I can’t believe this gender discrimination really exists in the 21-century world. It is true that when women choose hygiene products, they will consider more aspects besides the practical use. However, this could not be the reason that sees women hygiene products as luxuries. Companies should use other more ethical price discrimination policies to earn money rather than this unfair “pink tax” policy.

  26. Armando D. Gonzalez December 18, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    Truthfully I did not know that a ‘pink tax’ existed. For one thing, I do not understand why women should have to pay 7% more than men for products similar or identical to the products that males use. Secondly, I find it absurd that pads and tampons are taxed a ‘luxury tax’. Females use these products because their bodies perform a natural function, and so it does not make any sense to tax a product which assists in very normal bodily functions. I do not believe there should be a pink tax since it is a violation of gender equality, and I have the same view for the luxury tax.

  27. Thomas Owens December 20, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

    Ever since I was able to start buying my own things, even though I am a male, I noticed that female products are much more expensive than male products. I do believe that a pink tax exists, although I do not think that there is anything anyone can do about it. If women continue to purchase these products at these prices, why would retailers lower the price? In a day in age where women are continually urging for more equality, this is definitely something that needs to be acknowledged, and eventually changed.

  28. Nandi Piper December 22, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

    I believe that the pink tax ties into specifically gender roles/norms. Society makes us believe that women are naturally more high maintenance(or that they’re supposed to be) which causes a great divide between women and men. I also think how ironic it is that women can get paid less than men in the same position, however women are meant to pay more for simple toiletries? That’s ridiculous! Some of these products are essential to a woman’s everyday life.

  29. Zilin Yue December 23, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

    This pink tax really shocks me that I can not understand why it exists. I do not know the meaning of this kind of tax, which reflects the gender discrimination. I have to admit that even if the price is higher than male’s clothing, we, ladies are willing to buy the clothing we truly like. It is kind of the nature of female but it does not mean the pink tax can exist.


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