Have you heard of the pink tax? Did you ever notice that products for women often cost more than the identical product for men?
At Old Navy, women's plus sizes were charged more than women's regular sizes, but men's clothing were the same price regardless of size. The United States charges an 8.5 percent import tariff on men's sneakers but a 10 percent tariff on women's sneakers. On average, women spend $1,351 per year more than men for similar products.
Is charging women more than men legal?
Gender Discrimination and The Law
While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based upon sex, among other grounds, what these companies are doing isn't illegal because it isn't exactly discrimination.
Companies are offering two different products. The products for men may be priced lower than the products marketed to women. However, this isn't stopping women from buying the product marketed to men at the lower price.
Alternatively, if a store was selling one product and charged one price when a man bought it and a higher price when a woman bought it, this could be considered discrimination.
If these pricing tactics are legal, when is charging women more than men illegal?
Services in California
In 1996, California passed bill AB1100 that makes it illegal for service providers to charge women more than men solely on the basis of gender for the same services. Generally if a business provides the same service to men and women they must charge the same price for both genders.
The bill does allow a higher charge for services that require more time, cost, or effort for women than men. For example, a manicure for a man could cost less than a woman's if the man's manicure did not include nail painting and nail polish.
This bill only addresses half of the issue since it does not apply to the pricing of goods.
Before the Affordable Care Act, nonsmoking women often pay higher premiums than smoking men. This is called gender rating. Insurance companies claim that women pay more because they use more health services.
Since the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurance companies to stop pricing women differently than men, 14 states, including Colorado, California, Maine, Massachusetts, have passed laws that ban gender rating in health insurance.
Until more states pass laws prohibiting gender based pricing, don't get fooled by the marketers ladies.