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Pink taxes

Written by: Pragya Thapa

“Women and girls continue to face inequalities in many aspects of their daily lives, and it is unacceptable that they have to pay more than men for similar goods and services. Eliminating the pink tax helps put an end to gender-based pricing, ensure financial success and break down barriers for women.”

-Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor of New York

As per research,

Schick Hydro 5 sense Hydrate Men’s Razor Blade Refills

USD $11.89

Schick Hydro Silk 5 Sensitive Women Razor Blade Refills

USD $13.49 - $16.99

Same brand, same 5 blades.Yet, there’s a considerable price difference between the two products.

While scent and color are perhaps the most obvious difference between products traditionally aimed at men and women, there’s another, subtler difference: the price tag. And it’s costing those who buy products aimed at women significantly more.

The pink tax is the extra amount that women pay for everyday items such as razors, shampoo, haircuts, clothes, etc. This is sometimes, but not always, a literal sales tax. Mostly, it takes the form of artificially elevated prices that women pay for the same product as men.

A product made “for a woman”, such as a stick of deodorant might contain the same ingredients, be of the same volume, and be produced by the same brand as a stick of deodorant “for men,” but be marketed in feminine packaging and cost more money per unit volume. Generally, this marketing involves the color pink, or something else based in the antiquated object of women as the softer sex, and thus this markup has become known as the ‘pink-tax.’

The pink-tax is a heinous vestige of misogyny.In this day and age, it is an income-generating scenario for private companies who found a way to make their product look either more directed to or more appropriate for the population and saw that as a moneymaker.

According to a research conducted on ParseHub in 2021, women pay +50% more on hygiene products than men.When looking at hundreds of deodorant products they conducted research on, women pay an average of 51.31% more for deodorant products that are marketed to them.

Through their research they found there are over 200% more body wash products marketed toward women over body wash products marketed toward men.But more shockingly,women pay 65.57% more per 100g of body wash product.

Dove sells antibacterial stick deodorants, marketed to men as well as women.Not only is the men's deodorant cheaper, but it is also sold in a higher quantity.This makes it so women pay $9.44 per 100g of deodorant while men only pay $7.64 for the same amount of product. That's a 21% difference for what is essentially the same product.

Taxes on feminine hygiene products that men don't need further contributes to this discrepancy.Feminine hygiene products serving the basic menstrual cycle are considered luxury items in many parts of the world.Tampons, pads, and other menstrual products are only consumed by those who menstruate with relatively inelastic demand because they need such products regularly and for everyday use. The fact that these goods even cost something at all is effectively a tax on womanhood.As if things aren’t bad enough, many countries in the world continue impose tax on menstrual products.It increases the cost of menstrual products significantly—hindering affordable access and treating these essential goods as luxury items.

The economic impact of the pink tax is that women have less purchasing power, especially paired with the gender-based pay gap. The wage gap already puts women at a disadvantage when it comes to purchasing power.The pink tax further contributes to the economic inequality between men and women. Paying more for goods and services marketed to women while women earn less than men means men hold the majority of the purchasing power in the economy.

Billie, a women’s razor startup founded in 2017 came up with razors priced in line with affordable men’s razors with the objective of taking a stand against pink tax. In 2019, CEO of Boxed announced the ban on pink tax from his site.In April the Governor of NY signed the FY 2021 New York State Budget which included the Governor's proposal to ban the "Pink Tax." On January 1 2021, the UK eliminated the tampon tax.Many such efforts have been made around the globe in the recent years but we still have a long way to go before pink tax is eliminated.


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