France To Investigate ‘The Invisible Women’s Tax’

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France’s finance ministry will investigate why products that are targeted to women cost more than ones targeted to men, following a petition that gathered over 30,000 signatures.

A campaign organized by the women’s group Georgette Sand found that products such as shampoo and razors that are advertised as “female” cost more than identical products marketed to men. They have called on stores, such as the chain Monoprix, where many examples of the gendered pricing was found, to get rid of what they call “invisible woman’s tax.” Monoprix has argued that the gap exists because there are additional manufacturing costs involved in women’s products.

France’s secretary of state of women’s rights, Pascale Boistard, supports the campaign and tweeted, “Is pink a luxury color?” in response to the pricing gap.

According to the European Commission, French men earn 14.8 percent more than women. The Business and Professional Women Federation, however, says the gap is closer to 28 percent. Either way, French women are paying more for some products while earning less.

France, of course, is not alone. In the United States, women regularly pay more for basic services. In 1996, the state of California found that women pay about $1,351 more a year than men do thanks to gender-based pricing.

Some of this comes from small price differences. For example, women’s deodorant at CVS costs 45 cents an ounce more than men’s, even though men’s has more of the active ingredient. A study by the University of Central Florida found that on average, deodorant for women costs 30 cents an ounce more than deodorant for men. Women’s clothing that’s imported into the United States also tends to have higher taxes and tariffs.

In other cases, there is a much larger difference. On average, women pay about $200 more for cars than white men do; the number only increases for non-white women. Before the Affordable Care Act prohibited making women pay for the same insurance coverage as men, women who did not smoke had to pay 14 percent more for health insurance than men who did.

In 2013, women’s median earnings were over $10,000 less than men. Even women who are successful make far less than men; women who had perfect grades in high school only make as much as men who had a 2.0 GPA. The highest paid female CEO in the country only made one third the amount of the highest paid male CEO. As in France, American women are being charged more while being paid less.

Amelia Rosch is an intern for ThinkProgress.