Pink Tax

Published On: 15th December, 2023

Authored By: Shivangi Mathur
Barkatullah University

The pink tax is commonly used to describe a situation wherein things associated with women are priced higher than those with men. In general, women spend more than men do on comparable goods. The pink tax is not enforced by the government but by the businesses selling the products. The term “pink tax” describes the hidden price that women must pay for goods that are created and promoted just for them. Although there is no true “Pink tax” many clothing items made for women are imported at greater rates than their male equivalents.

Hundreds of products and services have been found to carry a pink tax. Gender-based pricing discrimination is prohibited by regulations in several municipalities and state jurisdictions. Despite bills being introduced, the federal government of the United States does not.


The pink tax was implemented in the 1990s and early 2000s the first- time the pink tax was coined the underlying issue of gender-based pricing and discrimination has existed for much longer. Researchers and advocacy organizations have kept track of the pink tax and increased public awareness of it ever since. Although the “pink tax” has been noticed and discussed for several years, it is difficult to determine when it was initially put into practice. The term gained popularity in the media and public discourse around the early 2010s as more attention was brought to gender-based pricing disparities.

However, the issue itself has been noted and discussed for a much longer time. Studies and reports on the pricing differences between products marketed to men and women date back at least a couple of decades. Over time, consumer advocacy groups, researchers, and individuals have highlighted specific instances of the pink tax in various industries.

The ongoing discussion about the pink tax reflects broader societal conversations about gender equality, consumer rights, and the impact of gender norms on economic practices. While progress has been made in raising awareness about the issue, there is still work to be done to address and eliminate gender-based pricing discrepancies.


The term “pink tax” has been used by various individuals and groups to describe the phenomenon of gender-based pricing disparities, but it’s challenging to attribute its introduction to a specific person or entity. The concept emerged organically as people began to notice and discuss the pricing differences between products and services marketed toward men and women.

Consumer advocacy groups, journalists, and researchers have played significant roles in highlighting and bringing attention to the issue. Various studies and reports have been published over the years to quantify and analyze the extent of gender-based pricing discrepancies. The term gained more widespread use as these discussions entered the mainstream media and public awareness.

While the concept of gender-based pricing differences has been around for quite some time, the term “pink tax” itself gained prominence around the early 2010s as part of the ongoing dialogue about gender equality and consumer rights. It’s important to note that the focus on the pink tax is just one aspect of broader efforts to address gender disparities in various aspects of society.


The “pink tax” applies to a wide range of products and services that are marketed differently based on gender. Some common examples include:

  1. Personal Care Products: Items such as razors, shampoo, body wash, and deodorant marketed towards women often come with higher price tags than similar products marketed towards
  2. Clothing: Women’s clothing, even for similar styles and materials, may be priced higher than men’s This includes everything from shirts and pants to socks and underwear.
  3. Toys and Accessories: Children’s toys, particularly those that are gendered (pink for girls, blue for boys), can exhibit price differences. Similarly, accessories like backpacks or school supplies may have different pricing based on gender.
  4. Healthcare Products: Items like over-the-counter pain relievers, which are essentially the same in composition, may be priced differently based on whether they are marketed toward men or
  5. Dry Cleaning: Some argue that there’s a gender-based pricing discrepancy in dry cleaning, where women’s clothing is often more expensive to clean than men’s.

It’s important to note that the pink tax is a broad concept, and its application can vary across different products and services. While progress has been made in raising awareness and challenging gender-based pricing, these disparities persist in various industries. Efforts to address the pink tax often involve advocating for pricing transparency and challenging traditional gender norms in marketing.


Addressing and dividing the issue of the pink tax involves a combination of public awareness, advocacy, and potential policy changes. Here are some ways in which efforts to combat the pink tax can be approached:

  1. Raise Awareness: 
  • Inform consumers about the existence of the pink tax and its implications.
  • Share examples and studies that highlight instances of gender-based pricing disparities.
  • Encourage individuals to be discerning consumers and to question pricing discrepancies.
  1. Promote Gender-Neutral Marketing: 
  • Advocate for companies to adopt gender-neutral marketing strategies for products and services.
  • Challenge stereotypes and traditional gender norms in advertising and product branding.
  1. Support Ethical Brands: 
  • Choose to support companies and brands that actively work to eliminate gender-based pricing differences.
  • Research and patronize businesses that prioritize fair and equal pricing for all consumers.
  1. Legislation and Regulation: 
  • Support or advocate for legislation that addresses gender-based pricing differences.
  • Encourage policymakers to explore and implement measures that promote pricing transparency and fairness.
  1. Consumer Activism: 
  • Engage in consumer activism by participating in or supporting campaigns that raise awareness about the pink tax.
  • Use social media and other platforms to share information and experiences related to gender-based pricing.
  1. Workplace Equality: 
  • Advocate for workplace policies that promote gender equality, as economic disparities can contribute to the overall issue.
  • Support equal pay initiatives and fair employment practices.
  1. Educational Initiatives: 

  • Incorporate education about gender-based pricing disparities into school curricula and awareness programs.
  • Foster a greater understanding of economic and social implications related to gender norms.
  1. Corporate Accountability: 
  • Encourage companies to conduct regular reviews of their pricing structures to identify and eliminate gender-based pricing discrepancies.
  • Hold companies accountable for transparent pricing practices.

Efforts to divide and address the pink tax require a multi-faceted approach involving consumers, businesses, policymakers, and advocates. By combining awareness, advocacy, and potential policy changes, there can be progress toward fair and equal pricing regardless of gender.


As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, there is no specific federal law in the United States that directly addresses the issue of the “pink tax” or gender-based pricing discrimination. However, some states have taken steps to address this matter at the state level. Laws and regulations may change, so it’s essential to check the latest updates.

Here are a few examples of legal actions and discussions related to the pink tax:

  1. California: In 1996, California passed a law that prohibited businesses from charging different prices for services based on This includes services such as haircuts and dry cleaning. However, enforcement and implementation may vary.
  2. New York: In 2016, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs launched a study on gender pricing disparities and found evidence of higher prices for goods and services marketed to women. The study led to increased awareness of the issue.
  3. Other Jurisdictions: Some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, have also explored or implemented measures to address gender-based pricing disparities. However, the specifics vary, and enforcement can be challenging.

While specific laws directly addressing the pink tax might be limited, broader legislation related to consumer protection, anti-discrimination, and fair business practices can indirectly impact these issues.

Additionally, ongoing advocacy and public awareness can contribute to social and economic changes.

It’s important to stay informed about any developments in laws and regulations related to gender-based pricing in your jurisdiction, as changes may occur after my last knowledge update in January 2022.


  1. Awareness and Education: Increasing public awareness about the pink tax is crucial. Educating consumers, businesses, and policymakers about the implications of gender-based pricing disparities fosters informed decision-making and advocacy.
  2. Advocacy for Change: Advocacy efforts at both individual and collective levels can contribute to challenging and changing gender-based pricing practices. Consumer activism, campaigns, and support for ethical businesses can drive positive change.
  3. Legislation and Policy Changes:  Encouraging and supporting legislation that addresses gender-based pricing discrimination can be an effective way to bring about change. Policymakers can play a role in creating and enforcing regulations that promote fairness and transparency.
  4. Gender-Neutral Marketing:  Promoting gender-neutral marketing strategies can help break down stereotypes and reduce the reliance on traditional gender norms in product pricing and advertising.
  5. Corporate Accountability:  Encouraging businesses to review and adjust their pricing structures, as well as promoting transparency, can contribute to fair and equal pricing for all consumers.
  6. Workplace Equality: Recognizing and addressing economic disparities between genders in the workplace is part of the broader conversation about gender equality. Equal pay initiatives and fair employment practices can contribute to a more equitable society.


In conclusion, the issue of the “pink tax” raises concerns about gender-based pricing disparities, where products and services marketed to women are often priced higher than similar items marketed to men. This phenomenon reflects broader societal challenges related to gender inequality, consumer rights, and the impact of traditional gender norms on economic practices.

In the absence of specific federal laws directly addressing the pink tax in many jurisdictions, ongoing efforts by individuals, organizations, and policymakers are essential to bringing about meaningful change. The conclusion is that eliminating the pink tax requires collaborative efforts across various sectors of society to create a more inclusive and equitable marketplace.


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