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Reps Speier & Reed Reintroduce Pink Tax Repeal Act to End Gender-Based Pricing Discrimination

April 3, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) reintroduced H.R. 2048, the Pink Tax Repeal Act, a bipartisan bill with 50 cosponsors. The act will end gender-based discrimination in the pricing of goods and services by allowing the Federal Trade Commission to enforce violations. It also gives State Attorneys General the authority to take civil action on behalf of consumers wronged by discriminatory practices.

“The pink tax is not a one-time injustice. It’s an insidious form of institutionalized discrimination that affects women across the country from the cradle to the grave,” Rep. Speier said. “A California Assembly Office of Research study conducted in 1994 found that women pay a ‘gender tax’ of $1,351 each year for the same services as men. The pink tax also compounds the damage wrought by the gender wage gap, which sees women paid less for doing the same work as their male colleagues, losing on average more than $400,000 over the course of their lifetimes. That financial hit is even more catastrophic for women of color and can extend into the millions of dollars. This predatory practice is unacceptable, un-American, and it will end with the passage of my bipartisan bill.”

“We care about ensuring women are treated fairly and have fair access to equal products at an equal price,” said Rep. Tom Reed. “Discrimination in any form is never acceptable and we will continue our bipartisan effort to ensure every woman in America has a chance at an equal future.”

In California, gender-based pricing of consumer services, such as haircuts and dry cleaning, have been illegal since 1996. That’s when Rep. Speier’s bill, the Gender Tax Repeal Act, became state law. She took her fight to the federal level as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015, after the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs published a study that found women’s products cost up to 13% more than similar products for men. Click here to view the complete study.

Rep. Speier and her colleagues timed the introduction of the Pink Tax Repeal Act for the week of Equal Pay Day to further raise awareness of the financial fallout suffered by women and their families.

Comments from supporting organizations are listed below:

“Equality is something that’s very important to all of us at Boxed, and that is why we decided to take a stand and lower our prices on women’s products that had a significant cost variance versus their male equivalents – even if this meant taking a hit on margin,” said Nitasha Mehta, Director of Vendor Marketing for Boxed. “Congresswoman Speier’s Pink Tax Repeal Act is so critical for holding these larger manufacturers accountable and for changing discriminatory pricing once and for all.”

“The Pink Tax Repeal Act is an important step towards ending gender discriminatory pricing and promoting the economic security of women,” said Emily Martin, Vice President for Education & 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.”

“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.”

“Charging women more for products that are virtually identical to those sold to men at lower prices is discrimination plain and simple,” said Anna Laitin, Director of Financial Policy for Consumer Reports.  “The Pink Tax Repeal Act restores some fairness to the marketplace by putting an end to this absurd practice.”

“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 Richard Holober, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California. “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.”

H.R. 2048 is cosponsored by: Reps. Jackie Speier (CA-14), Tom Reed (NY-23),  Donald Beyer (VA-08), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Judy Chu (CA-27), David Cicilline (RI-01), Gil Cisneros Jr. (CA-47), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Al Green (TX-09), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Hank Johnson Jr. (GA-04), Robin Kelly (IL-02), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Al Lawson (FL-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Carolyn B.Maloney (NY-12), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Grace Meng (NY-06), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Bobby Rush (IL-01), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Bennie Thompson (MS-02), Dina Titus (NV-01), Norma Torres (CA-35), Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).

A list of pink tax products can be found here, copy of the bill text can be found here, and summary of the bill can be found here.

Click here to view a livestream video of the press conference.

 

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