11+ Ways Women End Up Paying More Than Men

It’s called the “pink tax”: Women are paying more than men for almost identical things.

In 2015, a groundbreaking study released by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found a persistent surcharge for women’s products when they compared male and female versions of nearly 800 items. 

According to that report, entitled “From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer”:

  • Toys for girls cost more 55 percent of the time, while boys’ toys cost more 8 percent of the time.
  • Women’s clothing costs more 40 percent of the time. On average, women pay around 8 percent more than men pay for clothes.
  • Clothing for girls costs an average of 4 percent more than clothing for boys.
  • Women’s personal care products cost about 13 percent more than comparable men’s products.
  • Dry cleaning is often more expensive for women.

A more recent report, published by the Government Accountability Office in 2018, finds the pink tax disparity could be much more widespread, extending beyond goods purchased in stores.

Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa) requested the report, which used retail price data, federal consumer complaint data and academic studies to examine gender-related price differences in both goods and services.

The GAO first analyzed 10 personal hygiene products that “serve identical functions” but are marketed differently to different genders. The study found that, on average, women pay more for underarm deodorants, body deodorants, shaving cream, designer perfume and mass-market body sprays.

Meanwhile, men tend to pay more for shaving gel and non-disposable razors.

A 1994 report from the state of California estimated that women pay a “gender tax” of $1,351 per year.

But while the pink tax means that women pay more for personal care products, the GAO report reveals that women may also end up paying more for financial services.

“The so-called ‘pink tax’ has been observed in numerous media reports, and extends beyond products purchased in stores or online to services and financial services transactions that cost women more than men,” according to a summary of the report.

The report authors were reluctant to generalize their findings, but they found that the “consistent and  pervasive wage gap” between genders doesn’t just affect earned income. On average, American women pay more for auto loans and may also be required to pay more for mortgages, even though they default less often than men with similar credit history.

Speaking of earned income, the pink tax disparity is exacerbated by pay differentials: The average American woman earns about 80 percent of what her male counterpart does. Being non-white makes it even worse: Native American women make 57 percent, Latina women earn 54 percent and Black women make 63 percent of their male equivalents.

In the face of the pink tax, what can women do?

For now, with no laws in place to prevent the pink tax, women can ignore gender labels and just buy the cheaper version of personal care products. Most of the time, so-called men’s and women’s items are almost exactly the same.

And on International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate that Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) is working to outlaw the pink tax. Along with 27 of her colleagues, she introduced the Pink Tax Repeal Act last year in a bid to outlaw gender-based discrimination in goods and services.

Speier explains:

Women get hit with a double whammy: They make less for doing the same work and they pay more for the same product or service because it’s for women. Whether it’s a pink teddy bear, deodorant from the same manufacturer, or a white laundered shirt, it’s time to say enough! Discrimination is illegal.

This March, Care2 is launching a campaign to empower women and girls. Join us!

Take Action!

If you think predatory pricing is wrong, sign this Care2 petition and urge Congress to pass a Ban the Pink Tax bill.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo Credit: Getty Images


Richard B
Richard B10 days ago

thank you for posting

Coo R
Coo R11 days ago

what a shocker...

Sandra V
Sandra Vito11 days ago


Sandra V
Sandra Vito11 days ago


Eric Lees
Eric Lees12 days ago

The obvious question which this article does not address is why?

Is there some vast conspiracy to charge more for women's products and services or are there logical reasons at least for some?

The same applies to the so called wage gap between genders. Comparing apples to oranges?

Let's focus on the facts. More government intervention is seldom the solution and will only drive costs up further.

hELEN hEARFIELD12 days ago


Janis K
Janis K13 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

Joanna M
Joanna M13 days ago


Leo C
Leo C13 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

Gino C
Gino C13 days ago

thank you