Pink tax: the cost of being a "woman"

By Risham Sandhu





Pink Tax is the curse that contributes to a categoric, gender-based, value discrimination. Many studies have shown that in spite of the age bracket a girl falls into, she still winds up paying additional for different merchandise. Still not convinced? Before you dismiss pink tax as delirious, fried-up bullshit by the feminists of an UN agency who see everything through discrimination-tinted glasses, let’s discuss this with a common example.


There is no distinction whatsoever between men’s and women’s razor blades. Yet, women’s razors cost significantly more than razors catering to men. So far, no company or brand has claimed to use completely different designed blades for their company’s gendered merchandise. A couple of years back, a popular razor brand issued a handout within which they declared that the blades in their gendered goods each have identical “blade technology”. Talking in numbers, a women’s razor starts from around 170 INR whereas a men’s razor can be bought at just 90 INR.


Let’s shift our focus towards haircuts. You can see an oversized gap between what men and girls are charged for a regular haircut. Some argue that the variation in value is thanks to the time taken and also the form of product used. This explicit “reasoning” falls apart once you take into account how elaborate and trendy some men’s cuts are!


The clutch of pink tax is more than just hygiene products. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs conducted a study which showed that products marketed to women cost 7% more than the male catered products. Here is the ratio of the price paid by women compared to men for different products-

  • 8% increase for adult clothing

  • 8% increase for health care

  • 13% increase for personal care products

  • 7% increase for toys and accessories

  • 4% increase for children’s clothing

Another study based in India, the scholars of the Indian Institute of Management, Amritsar, conducted a field study during which they compared the costs of 64 products for men and girls in numerous classes. This revealed the bitter reality of the pink tax. The study compared basic to premium products like watches, sunglasses, combs, shoes, perfumes, deodorants, fairness creams, razors, dusting powder, undergarments, and bags. For a few products, the price gap was some hundred rupees, except for others, it crossed many thousand rupees.


So why does this discrimination occur?

A common reason cited for this is that pricey raw materials are used to manufacture women’s products compared to others. Another argument is that the manufacturer incurs higher R&D prices to provide options in choices, higher production price and extra expenses in creating the packaging enticing and totally different for ladies. Hence the pink tax lives. Once you start questioning these price gaps, you are bound to find some comical answers.


The most plausible clarification for this not-so-subtle pink tax levied on ladies is that women have a great deal of pressure to be well-groomed and presentable. Thus, many of them are willing to pay a lot of this sneaky tax on ladies. This is particularly worrisome when we think about the gender wage gap that girls face. Now, we've established that the matter is real; this can be not one thing which will be simply neglected. It affects half of the world’s population.


Even though ladies are the foremost common victims of gender rating, there are many goods and services that you find men paying more. Favoritism in any type must not be condoned.


What should we do about this?

Awareness is the key which would help us combat this injustice step-by-step. Slowly and surely, we are creating some progress on this issue. The government of India levied a 12% tax on the female hygiene products in their new National Product and Services Tax that was introduced in July 2017. The choice sparked many protests, petitions and complaints that questioned why the government taxed pads as a luxury rather than an essential item. An Indian lawyer launched a petition that garnered four lakh signatures.


Ask any girl to know that periods aren’t a luxury!


A year later, the government stepped up and removed the tax on hygienic pads. With this exemplary call, India has currently joined countries like Ireland, Kenya, and Canada as one of the few countries in which female hygienic products are exempted from tax.


How to steer clear of the Pink tax?

Instead of merely accepting the costs for what they are, scan the labels rigorously. Do the ingredients warrant the worth they ask? Compare it with the men’s product. If the ingredients are not significantly better than the men-catered product, opt for the cheaper one. Most often, there is no distinction between male and feminine products aside from scent and packaging. Rather than paying excess for something as trivial as packaging, get unscented men’s products as they still get the job done just fine!