Building on legislative work that started more than a quarter century ago, a proposed bill by Tri-Valley Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) that would ban charging more for goods marketed to women was unanimously passed off the Assembly floor last week.
"Paying a financial cost for being a woman is unjust and only adds to the gender wage and wealth gaps," Bauer-Kahan said in a statement. "This type of arbitrary gendered pricing has no place in California. It's past time to ensure price equality."
Aiming to address the so-called "pink tax" that happens when items that are marketed to women cost more than an identical item marketed to men, Assembly Bill 1287 expands on former Assembly member Jackie Speier's "Gender Tax Repeal Act" of 1995 that also prohibited price differentials for goods that are very similar to each other.
Bauer-Kahan said the pink tax is a "sexist burden on women's financial security," and that women pay approximately $1,300 annually for the same products. AB 1287 would allow an exception for price differences between goods when there is "a significant difference in the cost or time to produce."
Holly Martinez, executive director of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, said "with women as a whole making an average of 79 cents to every dollar a man makes, and women of color making even less, this isn't a tax we can afford to ignore."
"Women make up as much as 85% of consumer purchases in the United States and the Pink Tax represents $1,300 that can't go into a women's retirement fund, toward home ownership, toward her education, or to feed her family," Martinez said.
AB 1287 will head next to the State Senate for committee assignments and hearings. Other Bay Area lawmakers among the bill's coauthors are assemblymembers Evan Low (D-San Jose) and Marc Levine (D-Marin) and State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).