#pinktax has been doing the rounds on social media again this past week after a Facebook user by the name of Dear Alynne posted a video that went into detail about the reality of pink tax.
READ MORE: VIDEO: What do people think of Black Tax?
While the video reopened the conversation on pink tax it also highlighted how little is being done about it. Women are still paying a lot more for the exact same products than men. While the problem may seem like an isolated case in some countries, a Facebook page called Use Your Voice NPO shows its impact in South Africa:
Additionally, in 2015 women were earning 23% less than men according to AfricaCheck and last year Ipsos South Africa interviewed 3,598 employed people in the country and found that women earn 73% of what men are earning. Considering that, it'an even bigger issue that women are paying more for similar items.
It may be more expensive to be a woman, but it’s not because we’re buying more items or buying more luxury goods (well, not necessarily). The Guardian says that men and women enter stores as equals, but because products are marketed in gender-specific ways, we end up with very different receipt totals.
A study also found that the advertising industry has us convinced that men and women are such completely different species that we require completely different products, perhaps the most obvious example of this is "pink for girls" and "blue for boys". Yet, too often, we end up paying more as women for the exact same products men use.
A term coined in France in 2010, Pink tax, refers to industries charging women more than men for the same items. According to Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, so called “women’s items” come with a lot more trimmings and can therefore be a lot more pricey. These “trimmings” mostly refer to the gender-specific packaging we’ve become so used to. Smethers further explains that adding extra presentational baubles to female-marketed goods have become a norm so engrained generation after generation.
But it’s not just packaging, women are generally paying more for everything from a haircut, to dry cleaning and bathroom staples. And it begins with something as simple as shaving. In Matty Maihva’s article Is it more expensive to be a woman? she found that a 4-pack of disposables Gillette Simply Venus razors for women cost almost R2.35 more than a 10-pack of the male version, Gillette Blue. In another case we see a 5-pack of single-blade Bic razors for women at R12.03 more expensive than the exact same 5-pack of single-blade Bic razors for men.
In another example, Washington Post featured a rather suggestive ad selling two kids scooters. The one for boys described as “scooter sport” costs R395.49 ($24.99) while the one for girls, a "scooter sparkle" costs R791.13 ($49.99). They’re exactly the same scooters with identical features, only they’re packaged differently.
When we look at the world of fashion, Market Watch, an NYC study proved that, on average, women pay up to 8% more on clothing compared to men, particularly when it comes to jeans and shirts. Women’s jeans and shirts are 10% and 15% more expensive than that of their male counterparts.
Is the solution to start buying male-marketed razors, toys and clothing? Or should we rather try to fight against the pink tax? Let us know what you think. Email us, we'd like to hear from you.
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