Pink Tax

Introduction

The increased cost of products specifically created and marketed for women is referred to as gender-based pricing, sometimes known as ‘pink tax’. The word essentially refers to gender-based pricing discrimination in which women are frequently required to pay more than males for the same items and services, which are only distinguishable by the color of the product and its packaging. This so-called tax, which results in a price differential between generic or male-oriented products and their female-oriented counterparts, is visible in all categories of products and services, from toddler toys to senior assistance equipment.

For example, a razor designed for men costs only 80 rupees. The same razor, which is intended for female use, costs a stunning 250 rupees. The disparity, in this case, cannot be overlooked, and turning a blind eye to it could jeopardize all efforts to live in a more equitable society.

Impact of Pink Tax

Women work more and are paid less, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). In the workplace, there is already a gender split, with only a small percentage of women in top positions across all industries. According to the international organization, the gender gap exists in all countries throughout the world, and it has only shrunk somewhat in the last decade. On the one hand, we do not adequately compensate women for their labor, and on the other hand, we charge them more for nearly identical items than males. In India, the pay disparity between men and women is 19 percent on average across all sectors, and it is even wider in agriculture, where women do 80 percent of the work.

Imposing high prices on products designed for women widens the gender gap and enforces a certain conception of an ideal of beauty. People’s mental health can be harmed by noncompliance with such beauty standards, making them more sensitive to social anxiety, sadness, and loneliness. Furthermore, the gender barrier is exacerbated by the identification of colors with gender. Associating pink with girls and blue with boys limits both genders’ choices and conforms them to social ideas, but it also marginalizes other genders.

Justifications by Manufactures and Marketers

Product differentiation and higher packaging expenses, according to many marketers and companies, are to blame for the increased prices of women-targeted items. Manufacturers frequently resort to making the packaging more beautiful, changing the color schemes of a product, and even highlighting the USPs in various forms in order to differentiate a product from others and to target certain market segments. Due to a lack of economies of scale in the production of those specific products, the cost of production may rise. For instance, a company may produce many more generic blue and black cycle helmets than pink cycle helmets, thereby driving up the cost of each pink helmet.

Thus, despite the fact that the state of California in the US passed the Gender Tax Repeal Act in 1995 to prohibit businesses from discriminating in the pricing of similar services based on a person’s gender, consumers cannot effectively use the act because manufacturers frequently cite these reasons for their price discrimination. Furthermore, due to industry lobbying and commercial pressure, a measure prohibiting discriminatory discrimination on goods in California was withdrawn in 2016, blocking any action against these arguments.

Furthermore, even if the quality of the product supplied for both sexes is equal, certain marketers profit on the belief that women are more ready to spend on their looks and grooming. Due to the presence of their brand name on the goods, many firms extort large quantities of money from women for the most basic of products, feeding into the narrative of societal value imposed on women. Women’s fears as a result of cultural judgments of their appearance and lifestyle support gendered pricing and allow firms to rob significant sums of money from women who use these companies’ products to meet unreachable societal standards.

Manufacturers argue that women are less sensitive to increased pricing and that because they are prepared to spend more for a product or service, marketers discriminate against women on price. Companies claim that it’s no different from differentiating flight costs based on purchase dates. That prejudice, on the other hand, is not directed at a specific group of people, nor does it contribute to a larger system of oppression. Regardless of the arguments, the essential implication of this gendered pricing is that it costs a woman even more than it does a man to match the expectations of her gender.

Pink Tax Awareness

Unfortunately, in both developed and developing countries, there is little awareness of the pricing disparity. According to a survey, 67 percent of adults in India have never heard of the pink tax. The agitation against the 12-14 percent GST charged on tabooed sanitary napkins and other women’s hygiene products was the first time this gendered pricing was brought to the public’s attention in India. While contraceptives are tax-free and considered essential items, women’s sanitary products are subject to a “tampon tax” because they are regarded as a luxury rather than a need.

This provoked huge protests on social media, particularly on Twitter, using the hashtag #LahuKaLagaan, which means “blood tax.” More than 4,00,000 people signed online petitions against it, including activists, actors, politicians, and comedians, prompting the government to repeal the “tampon tax” in 2018. Despite the fact that the “tampon tax” campaign in India helped raise awareness about it, the pink tax is still largely hidden in the marketplace and considered an unquestionable social norm. Many global social media movements, such as #GenderPricing and #AxThePinkTax, have also drawn attention to it, although their impact is still restricted.

Conclusion

Increasing consumer awareness is therefore critical in the fight against the pink tax. The first step toward challenging the pink tax and, ultimately, taking action against it is to be aware of the very flawed narratives that fuel and excuse it. It is therefore critical to promote more discussion about this and to express one’s views to peers and on social media sites. Furthermore, by moving to identical generic or male-oriented products from companies that charge the pink tax, or by switching to a totally new brand that does not charge the tax, one might intentionally choose to boycott the products of companies that do charge the fee.

It is equally vital for consumers to value the efforts of businesses that are actively attempting to deviate from the standard. Companies will undoubtedly be aware of this awareness and shift in consumer preferences, which will have an impact on their marketing strategy and pricing policy. Burger King, for example, has already made a public statement against the pink tax. In its fight against the gender tax, Billie, a subscription razor firm, offers a referral discount called “The Pink Tax Rebate.” This is the way forward for businesses: to actively participate in the battle against patriarchy and profit by becoming change pioneers rather than exploiters.

References

Aishwarya Says:

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.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

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 secondinnings.hr@gmail.com

In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.