Women charged more than men — proposed NJ law targets ‘pink tax’
TRENTON — Pricing of popular products and services could change significantly in New Jersey if legislation targeting the so-called "pink tax" becomes law.
A measure approved unanimously by the full state Senate in late June, which prohibits "gender-based price discrimination," would ban businesses in New Jersey from charging different prices for similar products, such as razors, based on the gender of individuals for whom the products are marketed. And establishments would be banned from basing prices on gender for services that they offer, such as haircuts or tailoring.
“By a woman’s 50th birthday, she will have spent an average of $69,132 more for the same goods and services than her male counterpart, solely as the result of her gender," said Sen. Nia Gill, D-Essex.
The measure specifically states that places such as hair salons would have to display at least one visible sign that reads, "New Jersey law prohibits any business establishment from discriminating against a person because of the person's gender, with respect to the price charged for services of similar or like kind. A complete price list is available upon request."
“The pink tax is not only unfair, but it promotes gender discrimination by forcing those who identify as female to pay more for products that are often indistinguishable from the same goods marketed towards men,” said Sen. Linda Greenstein, D-Middlesex. “As a society, we have taken great strides in recent years to close the gap between genders, focusing on ways we can make the world a more equal place. As long as the pink tax is still in existence, achieving gender equality will simply not be feasible.”
A companion bill in the Assembly has not seen action since its introduction in March.
"We feel that haircuts should be priced according to the labor involved — so maybe by length of hair or the time it takes, not by gender," Anjali Mehrotra, president of the National Organization for Women of New Jersey, said when testifying in favor of the bill before a Senate committee in March.
The original version of the Senate bill included a penalty of up to $10,000 for a first offense, and a penalty of up to $20,000 for subsequent offenses. The version approved by the Senate on June 30 does not include specific penalties, but it directs the Division of Consumer Affairs to come up with rules and regulations related to the implementation of this act.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.