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Why can girls’ things cost more than boys’ things?
Jul 13, 2021
Season 2 | Episode 4

Why can girls’ things cost more than boys’ things?

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Let's talk about the "pink tax."

One of our inquisitive listeners, Isabella, noticed when she was shopping online that women’s clothing was more expensive than men’s clothing — and she thought that was unfair. Turns out, it happens a lot.

The same or really similar items, from school supplies to sports equipment, often cost more when they’re designed to look like they were made for girls. People have taken to calling this phenomenon the “pink tax.”

This week, we’ll learn more about why it happens and what’s being done about it. We’ll also ask some random kids a not-so-random question, and Bridget will introduce us to her new smart speaker — which has oddly great taste in music.

A four-panel comic explaining the "Pink Tax," not an official thing but a term that describes the average price difference between virtually identical mens and womens products — 7 percent on average.
Leigh Luna/Marketplace

And now … tips for grown-ups listening to “Million Bazillion” with kids

Money Talks

Take a minute to recap the episode and review the key points. Here are some questions to get the kids going:

  1. What is the name of Bridget’s smart speaker?
  2. What is a pink tax and why is it called that?
  3. What is it called when different people get charged different prices for the same thing?
  4. What’s the name of the song Sidekick played about the pink tax? Can you sing it?

(Scroll to the bottom or click here for the answers!)

Tip Jar

Our friend Isabella spotted a pattern and asked about it. Like her, some researchers and lawmakers have also been looking into why toys and clothes and haircuts for girls often cost more than the same things for boys. Gathering proof and data led the state of New York to pass rules against the pink tax, and it got some companies to change their pricing. Research: It’s “the secret weapon against tyranny!” as Jed put it.
Here are a few good sources:

If the kids are asking more broadly about economic fairness, here are a few resources on how to have those conversations:

Finally, might we suggest checking out Marketplace’s full slate of smart speaker content? Try saying “Alexa, make me smart” to any Echo device. 

Gimme Five

Tell us a story! Do you have a money story you want to share with Jed and Bridget? Click here to tell us about it.

Money talks answers

  1. Sidekick
  2. Answers will vary, but along the lines of: It’s the extra money charged for things that are specifically designed for girls and women, even when they’re often the same or very similar to those that are designed for boys and men. It’s called pink tax because a lot of things designed for girls and women are pink.
  3. Price discrimination
  4. “Attacking Pink Taxes With My Pink Axes”

(Click here to return to the questions!)

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The team

Jed Kim Host
Bridget Bodnar Senior Producer
Sanden Totten Editor
Erica Phillips Writer/Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Sitara Nieves Executive Director of On-Demand
Chris Julin Sound designer

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