The Problem with Pink Tax
Sola Mangisi and Natsuki Uchino

Ever wondered why our womens products are more expensive than mens? 

The term “pink tax” refers to the targeting of products marketed specifically toward women to be more expensive than those marketed toward men. As pink is often the symbol of femininity, this tax against women has been coined as the “pink tax” to represent that products marketed towards women are being priced at a higher cost. 

Sanitary products for example are specifically affected, as sales taxes are placed on menstrual products like tampons, and sanitary pads. These feminine hygiene products—though they are basic necessities for most women—are taxed by many nations, causing them to become luxury items, which makes them inaccessible for many women. Though menstrual products are taxed, governments exempt other necessities, such as groceries, medicine, newspapers, and more from sales tax, causing major issues regarding gender equality, and access to menstrual hygiene products. 

Although some products are not directly related to women's health, through advertisements and the media, physical standards are imposed on their viewers to adhere to gender stereotypes and further push women into purchasing products despite the higher prices. Cultural expectations also promote the idea that women must pay more for feminine products in order to live up to cultural ideals, serving to perpetuate preconceived ideas of what a "woman" should be. Women are overextended financially by the pressure to buy things that claim to make them more "attractive," which creates a virtuous cycle that encourages them to continue acting in socially acceptable ways that are considered "feminine." 

In general, although men and women typically buy similar products daily consumer products targeted and advertised for women are visibly more costly. As aforementioned, these gender-based price disparities are prevalent in several sectors but are most prevailing in personal care products such as soaps, lotions, razor blades, deodorants, etc. Even though all these products are necessary for everyone, no matter their gender, for the most part, it is heavily taxed and thus priced higher for women. 

In the United States, a study was conducted on 800 gender-specific products from nearly 100 brands and found that on average, the personal care products targeted to women were 13% more expensive than similar men’s products, dry cleaning prices for women’s dresses and shirts were upwards of 90% more expensive, and women's facial moisturizer was 34.28% more expensive. In the long run, this can and will become a financial burden for millions of women living around the globe as they are unable to afford basic necessities. 

For clarification, the pink tax does not impose that women in general pay more. The pink tax targets products that are purchased predominantly by women and place a higher tax on those said certain items. As a result, women suffer the pink tax more than men. 

 

Works Cited

Feingold, Spencer. “What Is the ‘Pink Tax’ and How Does It Hinder Women?” World Economic Forum, 14 July 2022, 

www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/07/what-is-the-pink-tax-and-how-does-it-hinder-women/

Kelley R. Taylor. "CVS Will Pay ‘Pink Tax’ and Drop Prices on Period Products." Kiplinger.com. 14 

Oct. 2022. Web.  https://www.kiplinger.com/taxes/cvs-will-pay-pink-tax-and-drop--period-product-

prices

Says, Erik. “Pink Tax: The Gender Bias in Product Recommendations and Corporate Social Responsibility.” LSE 

Human Rights, 29 Apr. 2022, blogs.lse.ac.uk/humanrights/2022/04/29/pink-tax-the-gender-bias-in-product-

recommendations-and-corporate-social-responsibility/#:~:text=Far%20from%20being%20a%20%E2%80%9Ctr

aditional,women%2C%20augmenting%20deeply%20entrenched%20inequalities

"What is the ‘Pink Tax?’ (and How to Avoid It)." Synchronybank.com. Web. 

https://www.synchronybank.com/blog/avoiding-the-pink-tax/

 

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