The ‘Pink Tax’
You may have heard this term before, but a lot of people don’t know what the pink tax is. The pink tax is not a real tax, but rather the fact that women are charged more for certain goods, services and products that are marketed for women, which are more expensive compared to those for men. You might also hear it as gender pricing, or price discrimination. This includes basic hygiene products like shampoo, razors and clothes.
Even when fragrance and colour are maybe the most evident differences among products traditionally commercialised to males and females, there is another, quite subtle distinction: the price. And it ends up costing those who purchase female-targeted products way more.
It’s an unfortunate reality that even in 2021, women still face a financial disadvantage when purchasing items, simply because of the colour.
Female goods are difficult to overlook: a burst of pink and light purple, with a dash of sparkles and glitter. If fragranced, the scents are fruity and floral, such as peachy and violet, lily of the valley, and raspberry rain — whatever that may be. All these adorable names, scents and colours only to be manipulative and deceptive.
If marketing wants to offer us pink products, let them do so without overcharging us if the product is the same.
Examples of Pink Tax
According to a study conducted in 2015 by NYC Consumer Affairs women pay more than men nearly half of the time. When looking at a wide range of products that are similar for both women and men, the study found that women’s clothing costs 8% more than men’s.
This simply means that they charge more for the clothing created for women, just because they are the one who tend to shop more.
The example that perfectly illustrates how pink tax works is personal hygiene and personal care products targeted to women, which cost 13% more than those that men use. In terms of materials and active ingredients, items like shampoo and deodorant are almost identical for men and women, but women tend to substantially pay more.
The same study also found that female targeted products aren’t just more expensive for adults, but for children as well. On average, clothes marketed for girls cost more than 4% compared to those designed for little boys, while toys for girls cost 7% more.
We are not only talking about dolls, but identical toys like scooters, where the only difference is the colour.
But it doesn’t stop there. Pink tax examples can be seen in products not related or designed for a gender, like earplugs, hotel kits, calculators, helmets and many more. How come pink calculators cost more than the black ones? Or the blue ones? Or the grey ones?
For those who aren’t convinced yet, the gender problem doesn’t end with pesonal care, clothes or drug store products. It expands to services like car dealership packages. This study is an example of the discrimination against women, who are offered a higher first deal when purchasing a car, with a difference of $200.
What causes the pink tax? There are a couple of reasons. At the very top level, there is no federal law that stops companies from charging different prices for products that are basically identical based on gender.
Pink Tax in Europe
However, the good news for Europe is that positive change towards eliminating the pink tax started with the Scottish government that declared:
All females of menstrual age will be offered access to basic personal health products, like compresses and tampons free of charge.
A study showed that women spend approximately 5.250 euros from the moment they get their first periods until menopause.
In France, The Georgette Sand, a progressive movement, has initiated a number of demonstrations on the price differences in stores for the same products depending on whether they are designed for men or women. Women all over the world are being compelled to pay a “pink” tax, regardless of the fact that they still receive less than men. This movement has gained a lot of national attention and it is encouraging other EU member states to start acting towards a fairer treatment, especially when it comes to personal care and basic human rights, like access to essential products when needed.
Sadly, the pink tax is unlikely to be revoked anytime in the near future. Until then, women will need to be particularly vigilant consumers, seeking out brands and retailers that charge fair prices for their goods.
The Pink Tax is yet another method of extorting as much money as possible from buyers.
Feminine hygiene products should not be exchanged as if they were gold. When it comes to basic sanitary items, we should start with a neutral point. Not only would this resolve the issue of female and male products, but it would also reduce waste and product costs, bringing us one step closer to gender equality.
Pink tax is not just a cute name for an unfair pratice or paying an extra dollar for a razor: It proves how women’s needs are still being used for commercial purposes and profits. In the end, if women are supposed to shave, have sleek hair, beautiful skin, at least make the products and tools they need more afforable, without charging them for being ‘pink’ or simply just for being female- marketed.