The Removal of the California Pink Tax


“Feminine Hygiene Products in a Walmart” by Stilfehler is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Governor Gavin Newsom made major advancements for equity regarding products targeted towards women on September 27, 2022. He signed off on multiple bills that are advancing pay equity and combating gender-based price discrimination while also supporting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

“Pink taxes” is the term that refers to the tendency for products specifically made for women to be more expensive compared to products specifically geared towards men. The name comes from the observation that many of these products are pink. While there is an ongoing debate about making feminine products like pads and tampons free and easily accessible, the pink tax does not refer to these products. Examples of actual products that are often overly priced because they are marketed toward women are soaps, lotions, razor blades, and deodorants.

AB 1287 was proposed by State Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, which prohibits the discriminatory “pink tax” by prohibiting different prices for goods solely based on the gender the products are directed towards. While some might think this is unfair if producing the actual product costs more, AB 1287 has accounted for this; A price difference is permitted when there is a large difference in the cost or time it takes to produce the product.

Another bill Newsom passed was SB 1162, which requires businesses to make pay scale information public to employees. This bill builds onto a similar statement signed in 2020 which identifies wage discrepancies through mandated reporting. Through SB 1162, the required reporting is expanded to include employee sex, race, and ethnicity information.

Two other bills passed on September 27, 2022, were directed to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The first one is AB 1467 by State Assembly member Sabrina Cervantes, which requires public colleges to have sexual assault and domestic violence counselors independent of the Title IX office while also forbidding these counselors from releasing their private information. This will be extremely helpful for victims as Title IX offices on university campuses tend to cover up the stories of the victims to protect the name of the school. The second bill passed was AB 2185 by State Assembly member Dr. Akilah Weber, supplying victims with free sexual assault exams by qualified examiners. 

“To achieve a California for ALL WOMEN, we must dismantle the patriarchal systems that have barred women from access to equal pay, secure housing, fair prices on goods, and support services and privacy after a sexual assault,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom from the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. Great strides towards equality were made with these bills and life will hopefully be a bit easier for the women of California.