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IS IT EXPENSIVE TO BE A WOMAN: PINK TAX

INTRODUCTION

The Pink Tax is an additional cost for female consumers of goods and services comparable to or on par with similar interests and services for male consumers daily. However, another thing unites many of the goods covered by the pink tax definition: they are marketed and labelled especially to satisfy the needs of people who identify as feminine.”[1] Pink packaging or other design features are frequently used to identify these goods as being of this nature. The widespread belief that “shrink it, pink it, and ladies will buy it at a greater price”[2] is the basis for the pink tax. Pink has always been associated with femininity and women because of its associations with these two groups. In contrast to similar products created and marketed to males, which are frequently less expensive, women must pay a pink tax—a kind of gender-based price discrimination for things created and promoted exclusively for them. Marketers frequently levy an additional fee, which women often overlook. As a straightforward illustration, salons typically charge women more than males for similar services. According to this, feminine personal care products like body washes, soaps, and lotions cost more than their male counterparts. “The “tampon tax,” which many states impose on feminine hygiene products, is a sales tax, whereas the “pink tax” is a tax levied on all goods. The pink tax is present in various industries, including toys, apparel, and personal care products for women. “Women are thought to pay an extra $1,300 per year for the same things as men.”[3] Sometimes, discriminatory pricing based on gender is linked to this occurrence, called the “pink phenomenon,” because most of the affected goods are pink. It refers to the price differential between male and female clients for the same services and goods. The pink taxation is a constructed fee.

IS IT EXPENSIVE TO BE A WOMAN?

“A study by the New York State Department of Consumer Affairs shows that, on average, women’s products like razors, t-shirts, and bags are estimated to cost approximately 7% more than men’s. In comparison, those products’ generic or male comparable costs are negligible. This phenomenon, meanwhile, is not only exclusive to the West. Women in India must spend more for various goods sold to them.”[4] Many brands use gender-based pricing and pack the same product. Differently for males and females, the products for women are filled with pink or red.

“Following a sustained campaign by activists, the Indian government decreased the 12 percent GST on sanitary napkins in 2018. Given that only a tiny percentage of the populace utilizes menstrual sanitary products, this is not a case of the pink tax. Nonetheless, being conscious of this harsh tax on necessities is critical because doing so adds to the pink tax’s unfair financial burden.”[5] “It was known as Lahu ka Lagaan in Hindi, which translates as blood tax.”[6] India’s provisional minister of finance declared their endeavour an accomplishment. According to a LiveMint story, sociologists and retail experts believe these inequalities stem from society’s tendency to hold women to a higher beauty threshold. “According to a different study, these sex-based income disparities significantly affect women throughout their lifetimes. Of all the other industries examined, the premium for women was the largest in the personal care sector. Razor cartridge costs were the second-highest and cost women 11% more than the average, with hair care products having the most prominent price disparity, with women paying 48% more for them.”[7] “One government research in the US examined 800 gender-specific items from almost 100 brands. According to the study, similar personal care items marketed to women were 13% more expensive on average than those sold to men. Adult apparel and accessories cost 7% and 8% more, respectively. The study conclusion read that women are paying thousands of dollars extra throughout their lives to purchase equivalent things as males. Another US study revealed that dry cleaners’ dress shirts cost up to 90% more than men’s. According to a UK survey, Women’s cologne was, on average, 8.9% more expensive than men’s. The cost of face moisturizer for women increased by 34.28%.”[8]

IS THE PINK TAX BIASED?

A disposable razor in blue or black would run about Rs. 30, whereas a pink one will run a woman about Rs. That also applies to salon services. Males often spend between Rs. 100 and 150 on haircuts, while ladies sometimes spend between Rs. 500 and Rs. 800 or even more. Corresponding to this, the cheapest 150 ml deodorant for men costs 120, while the starting price. A quality women’s deodorant in the same quantity starts at 150. Simply put, products primarily targeted to women and heavily promoted in pink tend to be more expensive. In most states, the pink tax is permissible in theory. The pink tax is only prohibited in New York, the other state.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) claims that women work more hours but are paid less than males. There is already a significant gender gap in senior positions across industries, with few women taking them. “According to a California Assembly Office of Research survey, 64% of retailers in various significant cities charged more to wash and dry-clean a woman’s blouse than a man’s button-up shirt. It is when the pink tax first emerged, at least as early as the 1990s. The issue attracted widespread notice and has since sparked efforts to enact legislation to abolish the pink tax effectively.”[9]

HOW CAN THE PINK TAX BE AVOIDED?

  • Be an informed shopper. If you believe a less expensive blue version of the product may accomplish the same goal, purchasing pink things is unnecessary.
  • Women-targeted shampoos, conditioners, and lotions are typically expensive due to their glitzy packaging and alluring scents. Consider whether you require certain scents or a standard; the less expensive shampoo will suffice.
  • Consider setting a goal for your next shopping trip. These techniques will prevent you from increasing your spending on useless things despite your inclinations.
  • Increase public awareness of the Pink tax.

“These are several clever strategies that could assist women in avoiding the pink tax. Issues like the Pink Tax, which interferes with women’s lives and renders the world progressively more equitable, need to be debated more.”[10]

CONCLUSION

All glitters are not gold. Pastel colours like pink apply to women or girls, whereas dark colours like blue are acceptable for men. Daily items are frequently purchased similarly by men and women. However, studies reveal that consumer goods promoted and advertised to women often cost more than equivalent goods offered to men. “A “pink tax” is the term used to describe this inequality. The increased revenue from the pink product does not go to the government when a business sells the female version, which is priced higher, than the male version, which is priced lower. The “pink tax” solely benefits the companies that charge women more than males.”[11] Advocates have long pushed to lessen or eliminate these levies because they understand the hardship taxes on tampons and other feminine sanitary products place on women, particularly those with lower incomes. Taxes on tampons and other feminine products have been eliminated in several countries, including Australia, Canada, India, and Rwanda.

Author(s) Name: Sreejeeta Das (Symbiosis Law School Hyderabad)

Reference(s):

[1] “What Is the Pink Tax? Impact on Women, Regulation, and Laws” (Investopedia, March 3, 2023) <https://www.investopedia.com/pink-tax-5095458> Last accessed March 12, 2023.

[2] @mjcontrera, “The End of ‘Shrink It and Pink It’: A History of Advertisers Missing the Mark with Women” (Washington Post) <https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-end-of-shrink-it-or-pink-it-a-history-of-advertisers-missing-the-mark-with-women/2016/06/08/3bcb1832-28e9-11e6-ae4a-3cdd5fe74204_story.html>  Last accessed March 12, 2023.

[3] LearnVest, “The ‘Woman Tax’: How Gendered Pricing Costs Women Almost $1,400 A Year” (Forbes, May 15, 2012) <https://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2012/05/15/the-woman-tax-how-gendered-pricing-costs-women-almost-1400-a-year/>  Last accessed March 12, 2023.

[4] “NYC Study: Women Pay 7 Percent More Than Men For Consumer Products” (NYC Study: Women Pay 7 Percent More Than Men For Consumer Products – CBS New York, December 18, 2015) <https://www.cbsnews.com/newyork/news/nyc-gender-pricing-study/>  Last accessed March 12, 2023.

[5] “NYC Study: Women Pay 7 Percent More Than Men For Consumer Products” (NYC Study: Women Pay 7 Percent More Than Men For Consumer Products – CBS New York, December 18, 2015) <https://www.cbsnews.com/newyork/news/nyc-gender-pricing-study/> Last accessed March 12, 2023.

[6] “India Scraps Tampon Tax after Campaign” (BBC News) <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-44912742> Last accessed March 12, 2023.

[7] “Women Work More, But Are Still Paid Less” (Women Work More, But are Still Paid Less, August 25, 1995) <http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_008091/lang–en/index.htm> Last accessed March 12, 2023.

[8] “What Is the ‘Pink Tax’ and How Does It Hinder Women?” (World Economic Forum) <https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/07/what-is-the-pink-tax-and-how-does-it-hinder-women/>  Last accessed March 12, 2023.

[9] “State Bans Gender Bias in Service Pricing” (Los Angeles Times, October 14, 1995) <https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1995-10-14-mn-56735-story.html> Last accessed March 12, 2023.

[10] “Pink Tax” (Pink Tax) <https://legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-9185-pink-tax.html> Last accessed March 12, 2023.

[11] Nelson P, “The Economic Aspects of the Pink Tax | Rethinking Economics” (Rethinking Economics, November 10, 2022) <https://www.rethinkeconomics.org/2022/11/10/pink-tax-in-india/> Last accessed March 12, 2023.