Trae Bodge, a shopping expert who lives in the New York City area, sees higher prices for products and services marketed to women everywhere: Socks, razors, shampoo and apparel are a few of the product types aimed at women that tend to cost more.

“I don’t know why brands think this is acceptable,” Bodge says. “It’s another punch to the gut as we’re trying to manage our budgets right now,” she adds, referring to rising prices across consumer goods categories due to inflation.

The phenomenon known as the “pink tax,” when products and services aimed at women cost more than their counterparts aimed at men, is well-documented across many goods and services. A 2021 paper co-authored by Stephanie Gonzalez Guittar, assistant professor in the sociology department at Rollins College in Florida, found that women pay more for deodorants and lotions, and that personal care products are increasingly differentiated by gender. For example, lotion for women cost an average of $2.97 per ounce compared to $1.86 for men.

While Equal Pay Day on March 14 focuses on the pay gap between men and women, it can also be a reminder to consider why being a woman so often comes with a higher price tag — and what to do about it.

Here are ways to avoid paying the pink tax.


As Gonzalez Guittar points out, there is no reason why women need to use lavender scents while men stick with pine. Companies also often market multiple products to women — such as separate shampoo, body wash and conditioner — while marketing a three-in-one product to men.

“These are basic hygiene products that don’t need to be gendered,” she says. Shoppers can save by purchasing more generic or gender-neutral products instead of the gendered versions, she says. “Ultimately, (these products) are pigeon-holing what femininity looks and smells like, and that comes at a price.”


Gonzalez Guittar urges consumers to take a close look at the ingredients and size information on the packaging to help make more informed decisions before they buy.

“Look at the price per ounce, because women’s products tend to be smaller,” she says, and you can often get a better deal by purchasing unscented products in larger quantities instead. At grocery and drugstores, you can often find the unit pricing on the shelf tag in front of the product.


Ian Ayres, a professor at Yale Law School, …read more



Kimberly Palmer: How to fight the ‘pink tax’ amid inflation

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