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What is Pink Tax?

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

Have you ever walked down the aisle at your local drugstore and seen a slew of products marketed exclusively “for women”? These products usually range from razors and shampoo to earplugs and toothbrushes and are often marked at much higher prices than generic or men’s products without reasonable cause.

“Women’s” laxatives and personal care kits, despite having the same contents as “men’s” products, are often sold at prices up to 103% more than their generic value*. The result? The common American woman ends up paying about $1,351 more a year for basic products and services, solely due to her gender. Considering that women earn on average 80 cents for every dollar that a man makes, this disparity is even more unfair.

What’s worse is that this problem is evident not only in the United States but all over the world. In France, the pink tax is called “la taxe rose,” and statistics pertaining to it are the same, if not worse than in the United States. Twitter user Anne-Sophie (@anneso) tweeted [translation], “Did you know? The absence of a penis in little girls makes haircuts more difficult since birth, and it is for this reason that haircuts are 40% more expensive #taxerose”, to which user Pépite Sexiste (@pepitesexiste) replied, “Girls’ shampoo is surely made with unicorn milk, that’s why #taxerose #cqfd”. 

So how do you avoid and stop the pink tax? The first and most obvious way is to shift to more gender-neutral or even men’s products, especially if the contents of the product are the same (which is usually the case). Something else you can do, especially when online shopping, is research the brands you decide to buy from and make informed decisions. “While companies have no incentives to eliminate the pink tax, female consumers have the power of choosing where and at what price they shop, whether it relates to buying a car, getting a mortgage or that next haircut,” says Roi Tavor, CEO of Nummo, a personal financial management platform, and budgeting app. “Only when vendors feel the 'pinch' will meaningful price reductions occur.” Researching will also help you support companies that are taking a stand. European Wax Center, for example, has launched an extensive campaign called #AxThePinkTax.**

Speak out on social media and participate in protests, and don’t forget to support legislation that aims to abolish the pink tax. Contact your local government representatives and be persistent when doing so. If we don’t act now, we’re going to end up paying tens of thousands of dollars to the benefit of misogynistic businesses. We shouldn’t owe anything to anyone just for being women.


*For a visual representation of the pink tax, check out this article

**Support European Wax Center’s campaign at axthepinktax.com

Find some more absurd cases of the pink tax here


Himani Mehta

Writer

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