Pink tax refers to an additional cost that women pay for daily use products that are 'supposedly' designed for women. This is gender-based price discrimination because women have to pay more than men for similar or identical products and services that are only differentiated based on colour and packaging.
The purpose of the product remains the same for men and women alike. According to Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, a lawyer, vice president for the Brennan School of Justice at NYU School of Law, and co-founder of Period Equity, the pink tax is an 'income-generating scenario for private companies who found a way to make their product look either more directed to or more appropriate for the population and saw that as a moneymaker.'
This tax is not exclusive to India, in almost all the capitalist economies women pay more than men for everyday products.
Companies and marketers give the justification that the hike in prices of women's products is due to product differentiation and higher packaging costs. To make the product attractive to and reach the target audience, i.e., women, companies report that they have to resort to more aesthetic packaging, altering the colour scheme of any product and sometimes even highlighting the USPs in various forms.
This leads to an increase in the cost of production. Another reason that they cite is that even if the quality of any product remains the same for both women and men, they assume that women are willing to spend a higher amount on their grooming and personal care. So, they use that assumption to sell women's products at a higher price, thus leading to gender-based price discrimination. These big brands and companies market their products based on women's insecurities that are a result of so many years of patriarchy and systemic oppression.
What is worse than this is that there is almost no awareness about this in any section of society. According to a survey, 67% of adults have no idea about what pink tax is. This gender-based pricing first came to notice through the movement against the 12-14% GST that was levied on sanitary napkins and other women's hygiene products. This led to a widespread protest across social media along with hashtags such as #genderprice and #axthepinktax.
Another study that compared 800 products across 90 brands specifically targeting a particular gender showed that toys and accessories targeted at women/girls were 7% more expensive than those targeted at men/boys, the similar pattern could be seen in children's clothing at 4% more for girls, and 8% more for adult clothing and a whopping 13% more was charged from women for personal care products and 8% more for senior or home healthcare products.
Most of the women are unaware that they pay an extra price for daily-use products. The first focus must be to raise awareness about the pink tax and take into consideration the opinions of women about the issue. If women are well aware and come forward to voice their displeasure against this discrimination, companies might be forced to introduce equal prices for products that are of the same quality for men and women. Women are paid less than men at jobs and they still pay the pink tax without their awareness.
Thus, it is more than necessary that we raise awareness about this gender-based price discrimination to move further in our efforts of creating a society that is far from any kind of discrimination.
Tags :income tax