On top of the existing gender wage gap in the United States, there’s another gender-based factor that could be impacting your income: the so-called “pink tax.” But what is the pink tax, and how much is it costing you?

What Is The Pink Tax?

Several consumer studies across various industries have discovered that products specifically marketed towards women tend to cost more than gender-neutral or products marketed towards men. In fact, these products can cost you an average of $1351 more per year. This isn’t just for luxuries or frivolous items, either, often impacting items that are medically necessary for modern life. The pink tax got its name from the fact that many items marketed to women aren’t any different than products marketed to men, other than the fact that they’re frequently colored pink.

Which Products Cost More?

The pink tax impacts just about all consumer items, from household goods to clothing to medically necessary items. Functionally, these items are no different; razors, for example, will work just as well regardless of who is purchasing them. However, years of marketing campaigns and price adjustments have made “pink” products more expensive.

The largest impact the pink tax has, however, is on the cost of living increase associated with menstruation. Tampons, pads, and other hygiene products are currently taxed in the United States as luxury items, despite being a necessity for a large percentage of the population. With the added cost of these hygiene products, the pink tax can be an incredible burden for a demographic that already is being paid consistently less.

The societal taboo against talking about menstruation makes it even harder to talk about the costs associated with it. Complaints about menstruation are often written off as PMS, which does affect millions, but does not make complaints any less valid. The numbers back up the complaints; the pink tax is real, and it’s costing you more.

How To Save

The pink tax can be frustrating, but is unfortunately unlikely to go away any time soon without major change. In the meantime, there are a few steps you can take to save money and improve the situation. Purchase gender-neutral products when possible; they’ll likely be just as functional as the feminine version of products, and will likely cost up to 7% less.

For menstrual products, consider switching to menstrual cups or other non-disposables. These will ultimately cost less over the life of the product, as well as being an eco-friendly alternative. Today the world makes and consumes about 600 billion pounds of plastic yearly, and switching to a reusable product cuts down on the amount of plastic waste associated with that time of the month.

How do you deal with the pink tax? How much more are you spending on these products?