Earn Less, Spend More: New Report Shows Women are Gouged by the Marketplace

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 1.04.22 PMOn average, women in the United States earn 79 cents to every man’s dollar. That’s enough to get your blood boiling, but add to that the finding that women pay more for most products than men—and your head will be spinning.

New research from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) finds that women’s products cost an average of 7 percent more than similar products for men. Broken down by industry, women pay:

  • 13 percent more for personal-care products
  • 8 percent more for clothing
  • 8 percent more for senior/home healthcare products
  • 7 percent more for toys and accessories
  • 4 percent more for girls’ clothing

According to the report, “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.”

Experts have long known that women pay a so-called Pink Tax on many products, from clothing to personal-care items. Ms. reported on the phenomenon in 2011, calling on legislators to correct the gender pricing gap, and Mic called out the tax this year in a widely shared video. Some studies have suggested that women may pay up to $1,400 a year in additional fees thanks to the Pink Tax.

This isn’t just an American problem, either. Last year, a petition by activists in France garnered more than 45,000 signatures, leading that country’s government to begin investigating the Pink Tax. The country’s secretary of state for women’s rights even asked on Twitter, “Is pink a luxury color?”

While some states and cities, such as California and New York, have laws on the books banning the practice of charging women more than men for similar services, the same isn’t true for products. That’s why we say: Enough is enough! Share your gender price gap pictures on Twitter and Instagram with the DCA’s hashtag #genderpricing and let’s stop companies from gouging women.

Screenshot taken by the author from Target.com




Stephanie hails from Toronto, Canada. She is a Ms. writer, a master of journalism candidate and a hip hop dancer/instructor/choreographer. She got her start in feminist journalism at the age of 16 when she was a member of the first editorial collective at Shameless magazine—and she has never looked back.