Pink Tax: How Does It Affect Women
As surprising and sad as it may sound, women in 2020 are still in a more economically disadvantaged position than men, and are subject to the pink tax. A prominent example of this would be the gender pay gap where women are paid 85 cents on the dollar for doing the same job as men. Unfortunately, these gender biases are not just limited to the workplace women are the victims of gender prejudices every single day. There are certain female products that are priced higher than the same product for males. This extra cost is commonly referred to as the pink tax.
Why Does The Pink Tax Exist
There are several possible explanations for these price differences. The JEC boils them down to four categories:
Dont Get Ripped Off By The Pink Tax
Understand that when youre buying something marketed for women, you may simply be paying for the packaging. If youre truly out for a wise purchase, be sure to comparison shop whenever possible. Check the ingredients of your body wash or deodorant, as they may be no different than the mens versions.
Remember that it can be hard to tell from packaging how much youre actually buying. Though two products may be the same price, one may contain less product making it more expensive.
When considering a large purchase like a home or car, do your due diligence. Make sure you know the true value of the purchase youre making, and ask around to find the best rates.
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Why Do Women Pay More
The reasons why women pay more for the same goods and services are as varied as the products and industries themselves. As with many issues of inequality, there are causes that are intentionally discriminatory, and others that are driven by precedent and profits.
Production differences: Its possible that in some instances products marketed towards women are more expensive because small changes in manufacturing, like color, require additional materials at a higher rate. Or if a product requires different materials, and is made at a slightly smaller scale, the cost of those additional materials may be distributed among fewer consumers, increasing the price.
Tariffs: Not all the responsibility of the pink tax falls on brands and manufacturers. Tariffs charged on the import of international goods are often higher on womens products. Most of the United States apparel imports are gendered, and the average rate on womens clothing is 15.1 percent while mens clothing is taxed at 11.9 percent.
How The Pink Tax Works
When a company manufactures or sells a product like a razor, deodorant, or shampoo, they may choose to price it a bit higher because its for women. In most cases, the difference between these products and comparable products for men is very minor. It may simply be the color or package design. Pink tax makes it more expensive for women to buy what they need to live their everyday lives.
According to investment bank JPMorgan Chase, by many estimates, the pink tax costs women an average of $1,300 annually.
The pink tax is technically legal in most states however, New York state recently placed a ban on the pink tax. In April 2020, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a proposal to ban the pink tax, and it went into effect on Sept. 30, 2020. The measure requires certain service providers to provide price lists for standard services and notifies them that gender-based price discrimination is prohibited under state law. If businesses violate the law, they are subject to civil penalties.
While the pink tax is still legal and exists in some states, the Pink Tax Repeal Act is an attempt to ban it. Introduced in April 2019 as H.R. 2048 by Rep. Jackie Speier, the Pink Tax Repeal Act would make it illegal for companies to charge higher prices based on gender for products and services. In June 2021, the Act was reintroduced.
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How To Fight The Pink Tax
In the day-to-day, the way the pink tax affects women may feel negligible or almost imperceptible. But paying more over a lifetime can have sweeping implications for women’s finances.
In a 1994 study conducted by the California Assembly Office of Research that’s often cited today, it was estimated that, compared to men, women paid more than $1,300 extra per year because of the pink tax. If that same amount of money were invested with a return of 5%, that would add up to around $16,000 in 10 years’ time. If a woman put that amount yearly into such a fund, it would come out as a whopping $160,000 in 40 years.
This amount of money is significant, especially since there’s also an investing gap with women putting away less than men for retirement.
“When you add in compounding and what that might look like in terms of retirement savings or contributions it makes a huge difference in a woman versus a man’s life,” Bradford, the marketing professor, said.
To combat the effects of the pink tax, it’s important to be a strategic consumer and be aware of this price difference. Consider buying gender-neutral toiletries like soap, razors, and shampoo that don’t really need to have two versions one for men, one for women. Also, if you see this pricing gap out in the wild, use your voice.
Car Repairs And Servicing
We know that we already went over how much repair agents can rip off women when taking their car in for a service. However, the numbers involved might frighten you. A Northwestern study shows men and women calling into various randomly-selected repair shops in New York, asking for a repair job to their vehicle.
The study subjects were all calling in for the same repair job to replace the cars radiator. Women who sounded clueless about the cost of the job over the phone received an average replacement cost of $406 for the job, whereas men received an average quote price of $383. Thats a staggering discrepancy of nearly 10% in the pricing of the replacement.
A study from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs shows that women who bought used vehicles were twice as likely to receive an overvalued price. The study found that men received favorable pricing on the same job, more than 50% of the time when purchasing the same make and model of car.
Therefore, if youre a woman trying to circumvent the pink tax, it pays to get quotes for repair jobs and new car deals. Its a sad reality that there are some businesses out there looking to take advantage of women, but it happens. All you can do is be aware of the pink tax, and make provisions to circumvent it wherever you can go in your life.
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Comparison And Buy Online
Comparison shopping can help you find the best deals on products, and subscription services can offer discounts for bulk purchases. You can counteract the pink tax and stretch your budget further by taking a few minutes to find the best deal on the products you need.
*Where the term women is used throughout this article, it refers to anyone who uses these products regardless of gender identity.
Definition Impact And Causes
Unlike the equally controversial tampon taxthe failure to exempt feminine hygiene products from state and local sales taxes like other necessitiesthe pink tax is not a tax. Instead, it refers to the widespread tendency of products or services marketed exclusively toward women to carry a slightly higher retail price than similar or identical products or services marketed for men.
The quintessential example of the pink tax can be seen in the inexpensive single-blade razors sold by the millions in thousands of stores nationwide. While the only difference in the mens and womens versions of the razors is their colorpink for women and blue for men the women’s razor costs around $1.00 each while mens razors cost about 80 cents each.
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Shrink It And Pink It
One of the more famous, old-school marketing adages is shrink it and pink it, meaning that all marketers need to do to get women to buy a product is decrease the size of the original product and color it pink. But does that still work today?
Not really, according to Linda Landers, founder and CEO of Girlpower Marketing, a Southern California-based public relations and digital marketing agency with an expertise in marketing to women.
In todays world, women are not waiting for Prince Charming theyre making their own money and creating their own lives. They are reshaping the world today one day at a time, and many marketers arent keeping up, Landers said.
While its not a bad strategy for advertisers to tailor their messages and products to the audience theyre trying to reach, they often take it one step further by then charging more for the products that are marketed to women, even when they dont necessarily have a good reason to do so.
Shrinking and pinking is not the most effective way to market to women. Yes, sometimes a smaller grip on a hammer or other product can be more comfortable for women. But the rationale that it should then cost 30% more is questionable at best, Landers said.
Landers believes that marketers should be able to explain the reasoning behind the higher cost of a female version of a product, and is dubious when brands point to things like slightly different ingredients different fragrances, for example or different packaging..
The Pink Tax Is A Problem For Everyone
Fortunately, theres proposed legislation that might eliminate the pink tax. This gives men and women the opportunity to both support a bill that would be a huge step forward for gender equality.
We need legislation to protect the financial interests of women not just when it comes to pads and tampons, but on all the things we use our money to purchase, Utterback said.
A young girl should not have to spend more on a school uniform top simply because she was born female. Our argument to #AxThePinkTax isnt about punishing men, its about giving women a fighting chance economically to live their best life.
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Use Coupons And Sales
If there are products you just cant live without, learn to save by couponing or commit to only shopping when the item is on sale.
You dont need to deprive yourself to make a statement. There are plenty of discounts available on sites across the web that will eliminate the pink tax from your favorite product.
Key Takeaways: The Pink Tax
- The pink tax refers to the higher prices paid by women for identical products and services as those purchased by men.
- The effect of the pink tax is most often seen in personal care products such as toiletries and razors, and services like haircuts and dry cleaning.
- The pink tax effect is often criticized as a form of economic gender discrimination.
- The pink tax has been estimated to cost women as much as $80,000 over their lifetimes.
- There are currently no federal laws prohibiting the pink tax.
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Pink Tax Part Of A Greater Problem
The pink tax is simply part of a greater issue facing women across Australia. There is still an evident gap between men and women in many facets of life, including income.
The latest data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows that the gender pay gap currently sits at 22.8%, with women still earning $25,800 less than men on average.
This isnt just the notion that all employers pay men more, its actually a broader cultural problem. According to the WGEA, the gender pay gap is influenced by a number of factors, including:
- Conscious and unconscious discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions.
- Women and men working in different industries and different jobs, with female-dominated industries and jobs attracting lower wages.
- Lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caring and other responsibilities, especially in senior roles.
- High rates of part-time work for women.
- Womens greater time out of the workforce for caring responsibilities impacting career progression and opportunities.
- Womens disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work.
Its crucial that women across Australia take the pink tax as a timely reminder to be aware of how far-reaching gender-based discrimination can go. While a lot of these issues cannot be solved overnight, its always worth comparing your options when you make any financial decisions, whether they be at the grocery store or choosing your first home loan.
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What Is The Pink Tax
Researchers in gender inequality often point to whats known as the pink tax, a markup on goods and services marketed to women and for which men pay less for similar products and services. Several years ago, the issue got a lot of attention when New York Citys Department of Consumer Affairs found many instances of gendered pricing when it examined 794 products sold in the city for consumers of all ages. However, researchers have been noticing and analyzing this phenomenon since at least the 1990s.
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Do Women Really Pay More
Can we really know if the pink tax still exists today, especially when the market is full of so many different products that are difficult if not impossible to compare? While it may be tough, there have been a few analyses and studies that dive into this issue that have done a good job of ensuring theyre making fair comparisons and getting the most accurate view possible.
In general, these studies have noted that there isa marked difference between what men pay and what women pay for the same types of products. Figuring out the whyof it is a little trickier.
One of the biggest and most popularly cited examples is the 2015 study that came out of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs . The report, titled From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer, found that, on average, womens products cost 7% more than similar products for men, with the biggest gap found in personal care products, where women paid 13% more. The DCA also found significant differences among childrens toys, childrens and adults clothing, and senior/home health care products.
The DCA study looked at 794 individual products, sectioned into 35 categories across five industries. They pulled product prices from a variety of different brands and stores, selecting products that were similar in branding, ingredients, appearance, textile, construction and marketing.
What Places Charge The Pink Tax
The pink tax is everywhere, in-store, online, domestic, and international. Its even in your home. Kara Perez of Bravely Go is a woman working in a male-dominated field. During the time in the morning a man could spend sleeping, meditating, or arriving to work early, she has to spend it on her appearance.
The time I take to get ready because the grooming expectations are different for women than men, thats the pink tax that I pay, Perez said. My time is literally taxed.
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When Pink Tax Jumped The Shark
While the pink tax has been targeting women unfairly for years, it reached peak ridiculous in 2012 when Bic released a Bic For Her range. The pens were described as being “designed to fit comfortably in a woman’s hand” and in our favourite pink and purple colours they came with a higher price tag than Bics regular pens.
Ellen DeGeneres was among those who slammed the marketing ploy.
“They have a new line of pens called Bic for Her. This is totally real,” she said on her eponymous show. “I know you’re thinking, ‘It’s about damn time. Where have our pens been?’ “Can you believe this? We’ve been using man pens all these years.” You can watch the full skit here – its a good laugh we must admit.
Bic for Her may be long gone, but the price difference between Bic razors for men and women remains. Big W, for example, is currently selling a 15-pack of yellow Bic Sensitive disposable razors for men is $6RRP, while the pink Twin Lady sensitive version is $8RRP.
Were pretty certain pastel packaging is no more expensive to produce than any other hue, so why the $2 price hike?