By Kate Harveston
The topic of the “pink tax” is nothing new in modern American society. It’s generally known and accepted that women pay more for common necessities than men do, and there are lots of reasons given for why this has been accepted. Women are fighting back to lower prices to male standards, but to be able to wage a successful war against a system that’s profited off women for decades, women must understand how far the pink tax reaches.
The fight isn’t just about razors and shaving cream. Women pay more for a broader range of things that extends beyond the walls of the convenience store. To stay smart about their finances, women of all ages should be aware of where pink tax will apply and how to avoid it.
Here are five weird things women pay more for:
The gender difference in clothing costs starts at the very beginning of life. If you have a baby girl and want to dress her up, you’re going to pay more at the register. It doesn’t matter what clothes you pick out. Pants, dresses, shirts — they’ll all cost you an average of two dollars more per article of clothing than if you were to buy clothes for a baby boy.
- Clothes Cleaning
Even maintenance of clothing is more expensive. When women go to the dry cleaner, they pay the exact price as men for all items of clothing except one: shirts. Prices are decided before considering what the shirt is made out of — which means that just from charging extra for shirts, women pay double what men pay for dry cleaning each year.
- Getting Older: Adult Diapers
In a way, women have to pay more just to live longer. As women age, they come across the need for things that they may not have needed before, like walkers or special tennis shoes. Even if it’s something necessary to helping women live a comfortable life, the pink tax can still apply. If an elderly woman finds that she needs adult diapers, for example, she’ll end up paying over 7% more than elderly men — even though both men’s and women’s adult diapers are made exactly the same way.
- Compression Socks
Random, right? But compression socks are not just limited to elder folk with joint pain. People wear them when they’ve just had surgery or run a marathon, for instance — and the pink tax gets women there, too. Compression socks will cost women 8% more on average. This one is easy to compare since you can get compression socks at your local grocery store. Find a box of men’s socks and a box of women’s socks — guaranteed, the one with a picture of a woman will be more expensive.
- Disability Insurance
Insurance is a necessity for everyone, and it is needed to cover just about anything. People with disabilities especially need insurance since they may lack the ability to make enough money to cover what they need. When researching this insurance, women will find themselves faced once again by the pink tax. This extra charge is particularly hard to deal with because there’s no way to get around the tax when it comes to insurance.
Don’t be discouraged — the pink tax is not without its weaknesses. Instead of going to mainstream stores that’ll apply unjust taxes, shop at your local thrift stores or family-owned businesses. You could even try making your own clothes, borrowing from a friend and shopping at yard sales. You’ll still be able to find the name brands that you love, just at a fair — and probably cheaper — price.
Of course, there’s no yard sale for adult diapers or insurance. Sometimes the only option is to get involved in the fight by contacting your state representatives to get your voice heard or to join a group that campaigns to inform women about this tax. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness. The fewer women the tax can make money off of, the less it will be around.