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Congress votes to eliminate ‘pink tax’ on military uniforms

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Jonathan Cutrer
/
Flickr/ CC BY 2.0
Women officers had been expected to pay thousands more in uniform costs over the course of their career.

Changes are coming for women in the military.

This article was published by the 19th News.

The Senate voted 89-10 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — legislation that is passed each year to make changes to the country’s defense agencies, establish priorities and provide guidance on how military funding should be spent.

While that includes big-ticket items like acquiring planes, adjusting benefits and increasing cybersecurity efforts, lawmakers promoted three amendments and provisions related to women and the military in the $770 billion package. One with a direct effect on women service members is the Uniform and Equal across the Services (FATIGUES) Act of 2021, sponsored by Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, was included in the final text of the NDAA.

The bill eliminates the “pink tax” on military uniforms and aims to address other financial gender inequities in the military. A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that women were disproportionately required to pay more out-of-pocket costs as a result of service-wide uniform changes.

For instance, the report found that a woman in the Army for two decades likely paid more than $8,000 out-of-pocket for uniforms, while a man with the same experience paid around $3,500. Several women’s uniform items, including dress pumps, hand bags and swimsuits, were excluded from a list of items that the military would replace for all enlisted members.

“Our military represent our country’s values, and it is absurd that in 2021, women are still paying more than men for their uniform while they bravely serve our country,” Hassan said. “This is a pink tax, plain and simple, and one that has no place in our military – or anywhere in American society.”