It’s called the “Pink Tax,” the inexplicable habit of retailers charging women more for everything from cars to jeans, not just in the U.S. but all over the world.
That fact is even more infuriating when one takes into account that in general, women are also paid less than men. This “sexist pricing” means that it’s far more expensive to be a woman than it is to be a man.
Here are some examples, none of which will come as a surprise to the average female. The Pink Tax means women pay double what men do for hair care products, 11 percent more for razors, and 10 percent more for jeans, CNN Money reported.
Even little girl’s toys are more expensive by 11 percent.
A December report on the Pink Tax, compiled by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, examined 800 products with male and female versions of 90 brands sold in the city. Almost half the time, women’s products cost more.
“The findings of this study suggest women are paying thousands of dollars more over the course of their lives to purchase similar products as men,” the report concluded.
Over in the UK, the “Pink Tax” even earned the attention of Parliament on Tuesday when one politician, Paula Sheriff, called gender-based pricing “exploitation.”
“Women are paid less and are expected to spend more on products and services…they are charged more simply for being women.”
A pharmacy chain across the pond has now been made to account for enforcing the Pink Tax in their stores. An online petition called for the chain Boots to cut their prices on women’s products. In their 2,500 shops across the country, face cream cost $14.50 for women and $10.60 for men; pink razors were $3.30 for a package of eight and $2.20 for a package of 10.
Boots denies sexist pricing, calling those prices an “exception.”
“We have never operated a pricing system that discriminates against women so we were surprised and disappointed,” the company said.
But this trend stretches across the world. Two years ago, a French study came to the same conclusion as observations in the U.S. and England, declaring that pink was a “luxury color.” According to the Guardian, the Pink Tax is rampant in the U.S. and applied most often to services rather than goods, like haircuts, dry cleaning, and manicures.
After all, 25 years ago, a study exposed the fact that women were paying 40 percent more for cars than men. Twenty years ago, sexist pricing was revealed in California. And nothing has really changed since then, including when California assemblywoman Jackie Speier tried to outlaw the Pink Tax and was told she was interfering with the market. Her bill was rejected.
So what did women do to deserve this? Lack of information, for one. A desire to be agreeable and not make waves may be another. And retailers are getting away with it for the most part, because there is no reason for them to stop, wrote Anne Perkins.
Individual choice, one woman at a time, may be the key, because only a revolution may be able to get rid of the Pink Tax. Discrimination is hard to overturn when it’s been going on for so long.
“Ending gender gouging is completely, absolutely, entirely in the hands of each one of us. It is the soft underbelly of exploitation,” Perkins argued. “It relies on a mix of our complicity and our idleness and sometimes a certain kind of narcissism that makes it imperative to have exactly that T shirt with that unseen label regardless of the price… Legislation might help, but in the end it’s down to individual choice. It’s the kind of small step that revolutions are made of.”
[Photo By Piotr Marcinski]