the pay gap & the pink tax

the pay gap

In the United States of America we still have a gender wage gap and a big one at that. As women, we receive 79% of the pay a man receives. On average across the country, this is $10,800 a year less than men. So if you are an average American woman, you will earn almost half a million dollars less than a male counterpart over the span of your career.

This is of course, averaged. Some states have a larger pay gap – Louisiana, looking at you, with women bringing home 65% of what men do. Some areas are better – Washington D.C. ladies you’re taking in 90% of what the men do! But, big or small(er) this pay gap exists across the country.

Now, let’s look at how we’re spending our 79-cents-to-the-dollar.

the pink tax

You may have noticed when buying razors or shampoo that the men’s razors, or the razors in blue or grey, are cheaper. But you might not realize how often we’re paying a premium for pink.

 

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Women are paying more 42% of the time. These are products ranging from personal hygiene items like shampoo, toothbrushes, lotion, to toys like tricycles. The pricing affects women from birth, with girls’s onesies, into their later years with senior care products like incontinence underwear. Hell, BIC sold pink and purple pens (with standard black ink) marketed for twice the price. On average, we’re paying 8% more for products marketed to women. For personal hygiene products it’s closer to 13% more.

This adds up. In fact, this adds up to an average of $1,351 more a year that women pay for goods and services than men do. Let’s say a woman began purchasing independently at the age of 18 and she lives to be 85, giving her a span of 67 years as a consumer. She will spend $90,517 more in her lifetime than a man, while purchasing equivalent products and services. And we can’t forget that she received, on average, $500,000 less during her career.

That $90,517 on gendered priced products could have been years of education, a house, healthcare, a car, or just security and peace of mind. If you have a sister or girlfriend, the two of you could band together and buy a Ferrari with your pink tax savings. Maybe not a pink one though, there’s probably a markup on that. Better yet, imagine the woman’s possibilities if she’d been able to add that $1,351 a year to an IRA or play with it in the stock market herself. The smartest money move you can make is to spend your money wisely. So let’s start spending our money wisely.


 

For more on the subject of the pink tax check out two very helpful studies:

From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer

The Pink Tax: How Gender Based Pricing Hurts Women’s Buying Power