Jackson Bill Bans Pink Tax

January 22, 2020

SACRAMENTO –Charging more for a pink children’s helmet over a blue one could be outlawed under legislation introduced by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) today. Senate Bill 873 would make it illegal to charge customers different prices for substantially similar goods on the basis of gender.

“Women not only earn less on average than their male peers, they also pay more for similar products. This ‘pink tax’ is unfair, unethical, and harms women and families everywhere. When women are held back financially, we all suffer,” said Senator Jackson.

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 women’s products cost 7 percent more on average than similar products for men. Women’s products cost more 42 percent of the time while men’s products cost more 18 percent of the time.

According to the report, the “pink tax” starts at birth with girls’ toys costing more 55 percent of the time, and continues into adulthood with women’s personal care products costing more 56 percent of the time.

Gender-based price discrimination for services, such as dry-cleaning, is currently prohibited in California under the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1995. Senate Bill 873 would expand this prohibition to products like razors and t-shirts.

In 2001, Senator Jackson authored Assembly Bill 1088 to improve compliance with the Gender Tax Repeal Act by requiring certain businesses to disclose the standard pricing they charge and to provide consumers with written price lists upon request so they could evaluate the price differential for themselves. The bill was signed into law.

SB 873 is supported by the National Association of Women Business Owners, California chapter. “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 Hilary Lentini, President, National Association of Women Business Owners, California.

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.  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.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.