There are many products out there that are marketed toward a particular audience. Toys for boys and girls, clothes for men and women, and even basic necessities like soap and other personal care products are all targeted toward a specific buyer. In the end, many of these products have the same function for both men and women, whether they're a necessity or not.
In recent months, it's been brought to the public’s attention that women’s products are being priced at a higher rate than men’s products are. These products include clothes, shampoo, deodorant, razors, etc. Even children’s toys are marked at different prices, depending on whether it's for a boy or girl.
If this seems ridiculous enough that it shouldn’t be legal, it actually is. According to Vox, these price differences on items are completely legal. What is illegal is charging men and women different prices for different services, but for products bought in stores, it's legal to charge men and women differently. When it comes to shampoo, for example, women may pay up to a 48 percent difference, even though the ingredients are the same in both male and female shampoos.
After the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs looked into this so called “gender tax,” they found that women on average pay up to 7 percent more than their male counterparts for products that are similar. Children’s items, like bike helmets, are priced differently for boys and girls. If there’s pink on it, it’s probably going to be a higher price.
The discrepancies don’t stop here. It's also been found that women are being taxed for feminine hygiene products that are necessary for health reasons. The “tampon tax” has brought up the question of whether or not women should be taxed for simply being women. (The short answer, of course, is no.)
The only states that have tax-exempt feminine hygiene products are Maryland and New Jersey. Other states claim they gain this right to tax these products because they're a luxury, not a necessity. But with costs so high and the fact that women actually do need these products, it's clear that something has to change.
Last fall, a group of women protested the “tampon tax” outside the Parliament building in Britain. They made signs and even free bled in white pants in an extreme way to show that this tax is inexcusable. An example of positive change, Canada lifted its tax on feminine hygiene products after thousands signed a petition.
So why is the United States not moving forward in removing taxes and adjusting the prices on products designated or marketed toward women? When it comes to this issue, it's a case of gender discrimination. Women are being targeted by companies to be their main market. If the toy has pink on it, they charge more.
The “tampon tax” is put in place because pads and tampons are seen as luxury items, and as many women would tell you, having your period is not a luxury. Taxes on products like these are not fair to women because they're a necessity to life. It's not something that women are buying for fun or to have on hand. These are products designed to make life easier, not harder.
Hopefully, change is in the making. Recently, lawmakers in eight states, including New York and Connecticut, have proposed legislation to make a change and bring an end to this gender injustice. After all, we're all just people, and we all have a right to be treated equally when it comes to things of necessity. It’s what our country was founded on, in the end.