Six Kirkland high school students were advocating for Senate Bill 5171, a proposal in the Washington Legislature to end gender-based pricing, with mentorship from Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, who picks up a proposal or two from local students each year.
The bill would have prohibited retailers from charging different prices for two products marketed to different genders but that are the same or “substantially similar” – like pink razors – according to a legislative report on the proposal.
SB 5171 passed the Senate on March 7 but didn’t make it out of the House Committee on Consumer Protection & Business.
The bill began as a project for the AP Government class at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland. The students said they wanted to address inequity and also encourage other youth to get involved in making state laws.
Opponents said the measure put an unfair burden on retailers to make up for price differences, but Dhingra said the violations would be on manufacturers, not retailers.
Brionna Aho, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Bob Ferguson, said the issues addressed in the proposal were already in violation of the Consumer Protection Improvement Act, which passed in 2021.