In a study titled “From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer,” New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs tracked price discrepancies in otherwise identical products that were marketed to male and female consumers. After analyzing the prices of almost 800 products across 35 categories, researchers found that the so-called “pink tax” doesn’t just apply to shampoo and razors—women pay more for almost ever product over the course of their lives, from baby clothes to home health care items.
The study uncovered numerous examples of products that were similar but cost significantly more when marketed to women. Baby clothes for girls cost more than those for boys (shirts for girls can cost 13% more), and toys marketed to girls cost 11% more than those for boys, even if they were the exact same toys in different colors. That price difference carries over into adulthood, where women’s shirts cost 15% more than men’s shirts, and women shampoo products cost a whopping 48% more than products marketed to men. In fact, personal care products are so overpriced for women that female customers pay more 56% of the time, even when the ingredients are comparable.
Even in old age, women get a bad deal. Supports and braces for women cost 15% more than those for men, canes cost 12% more, and personal urinals are 21% more expensive for female senior citizens. Even adult diapers are more expensive. The study found that when averaged across a lifetime, women are paying 7% more than men for comparable products.
While New York City has laws against gender-based price hikes on services (like dry cleaners and hair salons), it appears there is little the city can do to alter the pricing of goods, which are largely determined outside the city’s jurisdiction. The report calls for social media action to raise awareness about the issue.