Have you ever noticed how female products and services are costlier than that of men? Goods that fit the parameters of the pink tax all share one commonality: they are being directly branded and targeted to fit the supposed needs of those identifying with the female gender. Often, such goods are categorized with pink packaging or detail on the product itself. Whether this is from product design branding, the colour pink is pivotal in the marketing techniques of big companies. In comparison, identical men’s products of another colour, tend to be of the same, or even better, quality and cost less.
This is very important, as many women simply accept the fact that these items are pricier and continue to purchase them without questioning why. Pink tax is a form of gender-based price discrimination and refers to an inherently invisible cost that we, as women, have to pay for products designed and marketed specifically to us, as against the same products designed and marketed to men, which are often available for less. While there are always exceptions, most salons charge more for women’s haircut than men’s. This is also true for personal care products such as razors and deodorants. In some cases, apart from the packaging, the female version is hardly different from the generic one. For instance, while a well-known brand of disposable razors marketed towards men cost around Rs 20, the cheapest disposable razors for women from the same company cost close to Rs 55.
Indian women pay higher amount than men do for similar products. Why then, is gender tax, sometimes inappropriately called ‘pink tax’, not a major issue? However, women and men are not even aware of the existence of pink tax, or gender tax. In a survey, conducted with a small sample size in the age group of 18-25, 67 percent of the respondents had never heard either of the terms. Interestingly, 93 percent of the respondents felt that similar consumer products were charged at a higher price for women than for men.
A sense of this differential pricing or ‘taxing’ women higher for products was brought home during the widespread agitation in India for the removal of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on sanitary napkins. From the blatant branding and marketing ploys of large corporations that continue to project gender expectations on all ages, to societal pressures on women to uphold certain physical characteristics in fear of the possibility of being unworthy of success, societal structures and norms are a huge contributing factor of this commonly accepted discrimination. Furthermore, specific laws and trade policies beginning with the importing of products from abroad also can be blamed for the continuing economic strain and disparity for female consumers.
However there are a few possible explanation for the pink tax. In some cases, businesses may have a non-discriminatory reason for increasing the price of goods that are marketed to and sold primarily for females. These include:
- Tariffs: There may be higher tariffs for imported goods made for women, which the seller tacks onto the price.
- Marketing: The creation of a separate line of products specifically geared toward women can add a hefty price tag to production. These increased production and marketing costs are absorbed into a higher price tag.
- Competition: To hold their place in a market where gender-based pricing is prevalent, businesses may not have the option of lowering prices for women’s products and still effectively compete.
In some cases, it’s simply a matter of price discrimination. Businesses know women (and men) will pay certain prices for certain female-targeted items, so they’ll sell them for higher prices.
How To Avoid Pink Tax?
Buy more gender-neutral things- In many cases, you can avoid the pink tax by buying products marketed to men or that are gender-neutral. As always, consider your personal preference when deciding which product is right for you.
Support companies that take a stand – Some individuals have called out brands on social media and have even shamed them online for their higher-than-necessary prices for women’s products. Others have taken the approach of boycotting companies that charge higher prices for female products.
Support women-owned products- It’s easy to find women-owned products which most often reject the pink tax, for good reason just look for the Woman Owned logo.
Research the brands you purchase If you care where your money is going, research the brands you’re purchasing. You can set up google alerts for “pink tax,” “pink tax company” and “pink tax brand.” Whenever news about a company being associated with the pink tax breaks, you’ll get an email notification so you can stay up-to-date.
Additionally, there are other areas of gendered discrimination beyond the explicit pink-tax which figure into any analysis of standard of living, such as the gender pay gap, and the pricing of female hygiene products which are essential to life. Tampons, pads, and other menstrual products are only consumed by women with relatively inelastic demand because women need them regularly and for everyday use. The fact that these goods even cost something at all is effectively a tax on womanhood which Is a pure case of inequality and discrimination which needs to be stopped.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.
If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at email@example.com
We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs