The Pink Tax


The average amount more per year menstruators pay than non menstruators.

This is referred to as the "Pink Tax." It comes in many forms, including a literal tax on period products, which is still in effect in 27 states. The pink tax also refers to upcharges on products marketed towards women, like clothes, skin care, hair care, razors, birth control, and vitamins (just to name a few).

In many cases, women (and femme-presenting people) have to pay more for the exact same service or product. Here are some unexpected (or, unfortunately, expected) ways women pay more in society, for no reason other than their gender:

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaners often give a variety of reasons for charging women more than men, sometimes noting that women's shirts often require hand ironing, because of "ornamentation" or size being too small to fit in an automated press. But that's not always the real reason.

A 1991 experiment by the Massachusetts attorney general's office found that when a man and a woman brought in the same shirt to be cleaned, the woman was charged at least twice as much for the same service (at more than half of the businesses where the experiment was performed).

Long Term Care

A decade ago, women typically paid more than men for health insurance-- anywhere from 10% to 85% more, according to research by the National Women's Law Center. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, that is no longer the case. But women still pay more for a different type of health coverage: long term care insurance.

This insurance covers the cost of the day-to-day help people with chronic diseases or disabilities need with their daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. It can pay for the cost of a nursing home or in-home care from a home health aide.

A comparison by Forbes shows that one of the nation’s top insurers, Mutual of Omaha, consistently charged women across three states 71% more than men for long-term care coverage. Women could be charged more because they, on average, live longer than men, or because women have higher rates of chronic illnesses, like depression or Alzheimer's, that make long term care even more critical for women than it is for men.

Auto Repair

This one's a classic. A 2013 paper issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that mechanics sometimes quote women higher prices for the same repair as men. A segment on Nightline Prime's series The Lookout revealed that mechanics sometimes lie to customers, charging them extra for repairs they don’t need, and they’re more likely to do this when the customers are women.

It seems the main reason mechanics are more likely to overcharge women is that they expect women to be less informed about cars and car repair, especially when it comes to projected cost of certain services.

If you're calling to request a specific repair, use a site like AutoMD or RepairPal to figure out what that repair should cost and make it clear to the mechanic that you've checked the price.


A 2011 study in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics found that women, on average, pay 40 basis points, or 0.4%, more for mortgages than men do. That doesn’t sound like a big difference, but for a 30-year, $150,000 loan, it could add up to more than $13,000.

To make matters worse, a 2016 study by the Urban Institute found that single women are more likely than single men to be turned down for a mortgage altogether, despite the fact that men are actually more likely to default on the loan.

The study found that women are more likely to choose a lender based on a recommendation, while men were more likely to search for the lowest rate. To avoid paying more, shop around for the best price before committing. When the authors specifically compared women who shopped around for mortgage lenders to men who did the same, the difference in the rates they paid dropped to almost nothing.

Our Role in the fight to end the Pink Tax

As a period care brand, it is our responsibility at Viv to fight to abolish the tampon tax. We are calling for large-scale legislative changes to make period products more accessible across the country. The best way to start? Support your local menstrual equity legislation & push for the Menstrual Equity for All Act on a federal level. Contact your legislators and ask them what they're doing to end the pink tax. This is much more than just a period product problem; it is a fight for gender equality.

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