PINK TAX: The Cost of Being a Woman
“Know your worth, then add tax” oh no, not the Pink Tax, please.
Pink Tax is the subtle discrimination that is often neglected by the bare eye. It refers to the covert or invisible cost that females have to pay for products “specially” designed for them. However, it is just an extra cost over the same products used by the other genders, specifically men, which are available for less but the female version is just marketed differently so that they have to pay more.
For example, The generic haircut for men costs around Rs 350 to Rs 600 but the most basic haircut for women starts around Rs 700 and goes upwards till Rs 1500 and even more. This same phenomenon applies to products like razors, jeans, perfumes, watches and many more which are built almost the same way but are priced and marketed differently for men and women.
The basic idea behind this tax stems from the fact that generally, our society holds women to a higher standard and expectations when it comes to their appearance. Women are taught to be cautious about their looks and how they carry themselves. Marketing experts take advantage of these social standards and place feminine products at a higher cost as the elasticity of these products is much less than those of masculine products.
For example, if the cost of footwear increases, the male population will avoid buying new pair of shoes and will sustain on the pair they already own, thus having more elasticity towards such products. However, the female population will be compelled to buy a new pair because society expects them to be up to date with the current trends and also not repeat the pair they already have, henceforth a less elasticity.
This phenomenon gives rise to Pink Tax where the cost of male products is kept the same but that of female products is increased.
This is a very ironic situation because of the widening gender pay gap. It’s vividly known that women are paid much less than their male contemporaries for the same amount of work and responsibility.
Due to a gamut of socio-economic reasons, Indian women earn 19% less than men for the same work. This gap is prominent in every field from IT to agriculture.
But on the other hand, A study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs labelled From Cradle to Cane (2015) wherein they compared the costs of more than 800 products claimed that the products marketed for women are 7% costlier than the same products marketed for men. The difference in the Personal Care products category shot up to a whopping 13%.
This fairly means that the pay is less but the cost is more, forming a lose-lose situation for the women of the workforce.
To combat this predicament, much awareness must be spread regarding The Pink Tax which is unknown to the major part of the population even today. One way to beat this tax is by not falling prey to pretty packaging in the shades of pink and have a rational view towards products. Women need to differentiate the feminine products that are actually different from the generic ones and worth the money from the ones that are just a marketing strategy.
Also, the pink tax needs to be brought to light and exposed with the help of social media which is a very prominent platform for discussing social injustice. Looking at the long term view, factors such as the pink taxes, period taxes etc call for more women in the positions of leadership who can take substantial steps in eliminating such injustices from the workplace and the society in general, thus providing a holistic world to live in.
We must realise that the Pink Tax is subtle not overt, unethical but not illegal, not evident but significant.
Author: Aarushi agarwal