End the Pink Tax

SB 873 (Jackson) would make it unlawful to charge more for products marketed to women and girls.

The Consumer Federation of California is co-sponsoring legislation that would ban the practice of charging more for products that are marketed to women and girls than is charged for substantially similar products marketed to men or boys.

Senate Bill 873, authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s bill, would classify the “Pink Tax” on goods as an unlawful form of discrimination under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. California legislation enacted in 1995 (AB 1100 – Speier) outlawed the practice of charging one gender more for services such as dry cleaning or haircuts.

From toys and clothing to personal care products, items for female consumers cost more on average than those for men. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs examined 800 products available nationwide for their report From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer, and found that almost 50% of the time, women’s products cost more than the same product marketed to men.

Women in California earn an estimated 88 cents for every dollar a man earns, amounting to an average annual wage gap of more than $7,000. The wage gap is even greater for women of color. Gender-based price discrimination further compounds the problem and results in women paying thousands of dollars more over the course of their lives to purchase similar products as men.

“With women earning less on average than their male peers and frequently paying more for the same products, they face an unjust tax for being female. A dollar here, a dollar there, it all adds up. The ‘pink tax’ is unfair, unethical, and harms women and families everywhere. When women are held back financially, we all suffer,” said Senator Jackson.

SB 873 is sponsored by the Consumer Federation of California, National Association of Women Business Owners, California Chapter, and Women’s Foundation of California.

Speaking at a press conference on February 18, 2020 CFC President Richard Holober stated “the ‘Pink Tax’ only serves to further disadvantage women who are already paid less than their male counterparts. Female consumers should be able to reap the full benefits of their economic power and not be taken advantage of solely based on their gender. SB 873 will put an end to these discriminatory pricing practices and ensure that women are given the fair deal they deserve in the marketplace.”

Hilary Lentini, President, National Association of Women Business Owners, California stated “the National Association of Women Business Owners California Chapter (NAWBO-CA), which represents the interests of over 1.5 million women business owners across all industries in this state, is pleased to co-sponsor SB 873, which would repeal the Pink Tax by prohibiting gender-based price discrimination for consumer goods sold in California. While the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1995 was an important first step toward greater economic equity for women in California by preventing discriminatory pricing for services, it did not prevent discriminatory prices charged for goods. As a result, female consumers continue to pay more than male consumers for the same products; this needs to change. SB 873 aims to do just that,” said.

Surina Khan, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California said “this kind of gender-based manipulation of the market is nonsense all on its own, but when you factor in the realities of our state’s gender pay gap it becomes all the more critical that we implement SB 873.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on SB 873 in the next few months.

Read the text of SB 873