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This Company Is Offering Discounts to Fight Sexist Product Pricing

Bulk shopping platform Boxed is reducing prices on women's products that are more expensive than the same items made for men.
This Company Is Offering Discounts to Fight Sexist Product Pricing
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Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
3 min read

You may have heard of the so-called "pink tax," where female-oriented items such as razors, deodorant and soaps, even if they are mostly identical to a male version, will carry a higher price tag. But it isn't only grooming products that are unfairly impacting women's wallets -- there's a "tampon tax" too.

This summer, New York became the 11th state in the nation to not apply a sales tax on tampons and pads. But for the rest of the country, these products are taxed because they are considered "luxury items," and not necessities such as food, clothing and other medical products. Some of the items that fall under the medical products umbrella that were exempt from the tax included chapstick, Rogaine and shampoo.

But this week, in an effort to raise awareness about the pink tax, 3-year-old bulk shopping startup Boxed.com will begin offering discounted women's personal care items when the price is higher than the equivalent men's products, and discounting pads and tampons by 9 percent.

Related: This Business Owner Is Paying for His Employees' Kids to Go to College

The company found that on average, per ounce, women are paying 167 percent more than male consumers for a bar of soap, 108 percent more for razors, 10 percent more for body wash, 8 percent more for deodorant and 5 percent more for shaving cream.

As for how the move might impact the company's bottom line, Boxed CEO and co-founder Chieh Huang says that "We’re in a unique position, because we ship on average 9.8 items to the typical consumer. So if we take away a margin on one or two items, you have close to eight other items that we're making a decent margin on to make up for the loss," he says. "It's a no-brainer. It's just the right thing to do."  

Related: 4 Things Women Don't Do at Work

The company's aim is to hold both governments and manufacturers accountable and begin to see tangible changes in how these products are considered.

"Our ultimate goal is for other retailers to get on board and to create some legislation around removing the sales tax and implementing that nationally," says Nitasha Mehta, associate director of re-engagement marketing at Boxed. "Short term, we can adjust the pricing on our site and make a stand, and hopefully others will do the same."

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