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Congresswoman Speier Introduces Pink Tax Repeal Act to End Gender-Based Pricing Discrimination

July 11, 2016
Press Release
Washington, DC - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo counties) and twenty-four of her colleagues introduced H.R. 5686, the Pink Tax Repeal Act, to stop gender-based discrimination in the pricing of goods and services. The act also allows the Federal Trade Commission to enforce violations as unfair or deceptive practices, and gives State Attorneys General the authority to bring civil action on behalf of consumers.
 
“These acts of discrimination have cost women incalculable economic damage while fostering misogynistic attitudes that fight to keep women from achieving true equality in America,” said Rep. Speier. “When I addressed this issue as part of the California State Legislature in 1996, I had hoped that this economic and social travesty would end. That is why I am proposing federal legislation to, once and for all, stop gender-based pricing discrimination.”   
 
Rep. Speier first took on the issue of discrimination against women consumers during her time as a Member of the California State Legislature. Her “Repeal the Gender Tax Act” passed the California Assembly in 1996 and required that prices for services, like dry cleaning and haircuts, be determined by the amount of time needed to do the job, not by gender. Last year, she realized the issue must be addressed at a federal level when she saw the results of a New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Study, which found that the average women’s product costs 7 percent more than similar men’s products. Click here to view the complete study. 
"Price discrimination by gender is unacceptable. Yet, as Consumer Reports has found, products directed at women—through packaging, description, or name—can cost significantly more than similar products for men," said Laura MacCleery, Vice President of Consumer Policy and Mobilization for Consumer Reports. "We are proud to support Congresswoman Speier's legislation because all consumers deserve a marketplace where they can trust that they're getting a fair price."
 
“There is no reason why men and women should pay different prices for essentially the same products or services,” said Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at Consumer Federation of America. “This unfair practice should be stopped. The Pink Tax Repeal Act is a critical step in thwarting this unfair practice.” 
 
“The Pink Tax Repeal Act is an important step towards ending gender discriminatory pricing and promoting the economic security of women,” said Emily Martin, General Counsel and Vice President for Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center.  “Women and the families they support can’t afford to be shortchanged by discrimination. Women’s wallets already take a hit when they receive smaller paychecks due to the gender wage gap.  On top of this, women pay a ‘gender tax’ when they are charged more than men for the same goods and services.  It’s time for these unfair practices to end.”
 
“For products and services that do not differ in the labor, materials and related costs of production, it is unfair to charge more based on the gender of the consumer to whom it is marketed,” said Executive Director Richard Holober. “The Consumer Federation of California is proud to support Rep. Speier’s efforts to prohibit gender-based discrimination in pricing”.
 
“Women and their families deserve public policy that promotes their economic well-being, but the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs study highlights a pricing scheme that contains blatant gender discrimination,” said Surina Khan, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California. “Rep. Speier’s legislation rightly states that women should not have to pay more for a razor simply because it is pink”.
 
This legislation is co-sponsored by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Congressman Robert A. Brady (PA-01), Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26), Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Congresswoman Kathy Castor (FL-14), Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05), Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Congressman Steve Israel (NY-03), Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Congressman James McGovern (MA-02), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04), Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and is endorsed by Consumer Reports, Consumer Federation of America, the National Women’s Law Center, Consumer Federation of California, and the Women’s Foundation of California.