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Cuomo’s 10th proposal for 2020: Prohibit gender-based pricing

Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his tenth proposal for the 2020 State of the State Agenda. In short, it will eliminate what’s known as the ‘pink tax’.

In the early 1990s, several studies reported disparities between the costs of substantially similar goods and services depending on if they were marketed for men or for women. Despite increased public discourse around gender-based pricing discrimination, recent research indicates that the problem still persists. To address these disparities, the Governor will advance legislation to prohibit gender-based pricing discrimination for substantially similar or like kind goods and services. The legislation will require certain service providers to post price lists for standard services; businesses that violate the law would be subject to civil penalties.

“For too long women and girls faced social and economic discrimination in all aspects of their life, but in New York we’re leading the fight for true gender equity,” Governor Cuomo said. “Last year we made equal pay for equal work a reality and this year we’ll build on that progress by breaking down barriers that can prevent women from achieving financial success including the pink tax. Women shouldn’t be nickel and dimed their entire lives because of their gender – it’s discriminatory and repugnant to our values and we’re putting an end to it.”

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs conducted a study in 2015 that analyzed prices of toys, clothing, personal care products and home health products that were substantially similar and found that 42 percent of the time, products targeted towards women are more expensive than men’s. According to the data collected, women’s merchandise costs 7 percent on average more than similar items for men, with personal care products for women found to be priced 13 percent higher than men’s products. Because these products are purchased frequently, the study estimates that the compounding differences translate into a significant financial burden for women over the cost of their lifetime.

These cost differences have lasting consequences. Women will spend thousands more throughout the course of their lifetimes than men to get similar products, and these higher costs will disproportionately impact disposable incomes and savings. Additionally, the gender wage gap, which hinders female economic growth and falls more heavily on women of color, is only being exacerbated by these price disparities.

During his time in office, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated his commitment to reducing the gender wage gap. In 2016 the Governor signed legislation that prohibited a tax on menstrual products, making New York one of the first states to ban the so-called “tampon tax.” In 2019, the Governor signed a new law prohibiting employers from asking about or considering an applicant’s salary history when making hiring and promotion decisions, as well as legislation that mandates equal pay for substantially similar work.

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