7% Man Tax Advertised in NYC Pharmacy
One local pharmacy owner decided she’d call attention to the “pink tax,” or the tax women must pay on feminine care products, by displaying signs in her pharmacy window. At Thompson Chemists in SoHo Manhattan, one store window displays a sign that reads: “New Store Policy: All Male Customers are Subject to a 7% Man Tax.” On the other side of the door, there’s a similar sign that reads, “New Store Policy: All Female Customers Shop Tax Free.”
The reference to “man tax” is only meant to increase awareness of the pink tax and gender price discrimination. This summer, New York State banned the “tampon tax” which was enacted in 1965, but still many other states across the country, and countries around the world, the tax remains in place – and a hot topic of debate.
Owner Jolie Alony says she meant the signs as nothing more than a “tongue-in-cheek” way to bring light to the issue, but many didn’t see it that way. Men’s rights activists have responded with criticism on the pharmacy’s Yelp page, and some have even gone so far as to call her with angry accusations of sexism.
She put them up on Columbus Day, and didn’t have any issues in-person at her store, but the issues began once photos of the signs started making their way across social media.
For the most part, people in the neighborhood, men included, had responded positively to the signs, acknowledging the issue. Alony also says that she has charged no men the man tax, but she has been giving women a 7% discount, to demonstrate that women do pay more for things.
NPR reveals that in Wisconsin, there’s a sales tax exemption for Viagra and other erectile dysfunction treatments, but women must still pay that tax on feminine hygiene products. Some lawmakers from the state believe the taboo surrounding a woman’s cycle makes them reluctant to discuss it, which contributes to the issue, and that’s why they’re working on a bill to exempt them from sales tax.
New York isn’t the first state to abolish the pink tax – Minnesota did it in 1981, Pennsylvania did it in 1991, and New Jersey did it in 2005. Only five other states have exemptions from the pink tax, and that’s simply because there are no sales taxes across the state, leaving 40 states plus D.C. that charge anywhere from 2.9 to 7.5%.
But for some, it gets worse at the city level – Chicago, for instance, charges a combined state and local tax rate of 10.25% on pads and tampons, making it the highest tax rate of any major U.S. state.
Kudos to Alony for making a point about the subtle forms of discrimination women face in this country.