Cuomo administration working to eliminate the “pink tax”

Photo courtesy of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul demonstrates how the pink tax affects female consumers in New York, by showing an example of similar razor blades sold at a popular drug store chain that cost 50 cents more for the female-branded version.

On February 14, 2020 Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a brand new campaign to eliminate gender-based price discrimination, otherwise known as the”pink tax.”

Historically, women pay substantially more than men for near-identical personal care and hygiene products; toys, bikes, helmets and backpacks; clothing; and even services such as tailoring, dry-cleaning and hair styling.

According to the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, women’s products average 7 percent more than those of men, but personal care items, like the basic necessities of shampoo and body wash, sometimes cost up to 13 percent more. This “tax” has cost the average female consumer thousands of dollars over their lifetime, according to the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs.

This price difference causes a financial strain on women; especially because of the gender wage gap. Though it has narrowed, in 2018 women earned only 85% of what men made for similar jobs. So, women are making less and paying more for many products that are essentially the same.

According the governor’s 2020 agenda, “The legislation would require certain service providers to post price lists for standard services [as well as a] notice that gender-based price discrimination is prohibited under state law. Businesses that violate the law would be subject to civil penalties.”

Part of Cuomo’s campaigning revolves around the popular and political social media application Twitter. Hundreds of people, including Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul use the hashtags #Pinktax and #Stopthepinktax.

On top of social media, Cuomo’s administration is hosting events statewide. On Thursday Feb. 15, Hochul, on behalf of Cuomo’s 2020 agenda, spoke at the YWCA of White Plains and Westchester. The YWCA is committed to fighting social injustices and empowering women.

When discussing two popular drug store-brand razors — identical in construction but different in color — Hochul noted, “50 cents more for the pink one.” 

This injustice is nothing new. Menstrual product taxes, also known as the “tampon tax” was an issue for women for years. Back in 2016, Cuomo passed a legislation to ban the taxation; making New York one of the first states to eliminate the “tampon tax.” Since then, Cuomo has also advocated for equal pay. 

“For too long women and girls faced social and economic discrimination in all aspects of their life, but in New York we’re leading the fight for true gender equity,” Cuomo said.