Updated: Mar 8, 2021
By Mary Grlic
Image via Good Housekeeping
Fact: it is not easy being a woman. Women have experienced many disadvantages in a male-dominated society for centuries, and though great progress has been made, gender inequality has never been fully achieved. For example, women are paid less than men when in the same position. There is a great lack of women in positions of power, and those who are often receive criticism for their work. Misogynists and sexists think they can have a say in how women dress, what their jobs are, or even what they post on social media. However, it’s not just because of these difficulties that make gender equality so difficult to achieve. It statistically costs more to be a woman, all because of what is known as the Pink Tax.
The Pink Tax refers to the discriminatory pricing of certain items, services and products based on gender. It is not an official tax, but rather the extra cost that women pay for products marketed towards women, such as razors, shampoo, clothing and even dry cleaning. Women pay over $1,300 extra each year due to the Pink Tax: meaning half the population is being conned into paying more money just to buy a “feminine” product.
You have probably noticed the differences in “masculine” and “feminine” items. “Masculine” products tend to be of a darker color, like navy blue, and have muskier, “manly” scents. “Feminine” products are hard to miss: they are often bright pink or purple and offer a variety of sweet scents. Other than packaging, these products are basically the exact same thing, yet women’s products still cost more than those of men.
A study by the NYC Consumer Affairs concluded that products for women cost, on average, seven percent more than those for males. The price disparities are as follows: seven percent more for toys and accessories, four percent more for children’s clothing, eight percent more for adult clothing, thirteen percent more for personal care products and eight percent more for senior/home health care products.
Even young girls cannot escape the Pink Tax: the pink unicorn helmet made for girls is always going to cost more than a blue dragon one made for boys. Whether or not children should be evolving with the societal construct that pink means feminine and blue means masculine, it is still a shame that little girls are being conned into paying more for their product.
The Pink Tax is not something new and may last forever as a way for big corporations to con women. However, we can still fight the tax in many ways. Opt to buy the “men’s” razors and shaving gel instead of those marketed for women. Buy a “men’s” hoodie or sweatpants rather than getting the same item(s) in the “women’s” clothing section. Support businesses like Billie, a subscription shaving company for women that offers pricing similar to that of men’s razor subscriptions.
In New York, the Pink Tax was banned in September 2020 to prohibit charging different prices for similar services based on gender. This was a significant stride toward completely eliminating the Pink Tax.
In honor of Women’s History Month, it is important to recognize that the Pink Tax exists and that women are treated unfairly just because of their gender. As women, it is imperative that we continue to fight against this injustice.
Written by writer Mary Grlic