What’s The Colour That Comes To Your Mind When You Think Of Anything Traditionally Feminine? Pink? Not Much Of A Surprise Considering Most Marketers And Product Innovators Also Associate Pink With Women And Women’s Products.
What Is Pink Tax?
Take a pink, “girly”, razor blade and a black “manly” razor blade and compare the prices. Alarmed at the staggering gap? That’s pink tax working overtime to ensure that feminine products cost more than typically masculine products of the same use and material.
What Is The Effect Of This Tax?
In 2015, having examined five industries, 24 stores, 91 brands, and 794 products, the New York City’s Consumer Affairs Report cited that on an average, women products cost 7 percent more than similar products marketed for use by men.
Women have always had extreme pressure from society to behave and appear a certain way to cater to the male gaze. This pressure leads to “pink” products having a higher price because they are in higher societal demand. When women purchase these products and pay the pretty toll, it circles back to increasing and enhancing a damaging stereotype about women and their role in society.
From A Tax Standpoint, Why Does It Matter?
This notional tax affects women all over the world but especially women that do not receive support, culturally or financially. Essentially, women are paying more and earning less.
Women earn less because of certain pre-existing issues in society such as:
Women not being able to educate themselves or having supportive male or female family members who believe their education is as important as a man’s
Corporate jobs paying women less than men for the same designation, also known as the gender pay gap
Women not considered to be permanent employees by any company as corporates believe that marriage, pregnancy and motherhood are factors that draw the female workforce away
Autonomy of money holding and understanding of personal finance is still a very nascent concept among women and especially women in rural areas
When it comes to selection of candidates for top-level positions, women are often left as second choice.
Menstruation, lack of safe transportation, entitlement of men and lack of awareness on independence of women in Indian culture are just some of the problem areas.
Women are an enormous part of our society and workforce and it benefits us as an economy to ensure they can reach their full potential and retain their financial independence. Increasing access to education, employment and basic healthcare ultimately benefits our economy and increases our taxpayers and tax base.
Are We Aware Of Pink Tax?
Statistics show that around 67% of Indian population has no idea what pink tax is or what the implications are on the female population. Gendered tax is usually associated with the sale of menstruation products but Indians need to understand it more than that. Pink tax ensures that women will always be one step behind men.
We need to actively talk about the harmful effects of gender stereotypes, like pink is for girls and blue is for boys. When women and men understand how companies cater to their sensibilities, they will be forced to come to terms with this marketing manipulation. We need to understand that “different colour pattern costs” and “feminine packaging costs” are excuses that companies give to make that extra margin off of women.
How Do We Battle Pink Tax?
Once we become aware of pink tax, we can show our support toward the removal of pink tax and the expectations that we have from the companies that we buy from. A great arena for advocating change, that has shown results before, is social media.
Do not be swayed by packaging regardless of your aesthetic preferences and understand it is manipulation. Try switching to different brands that do not have a gender tax or the male counterpart for the product you need, if the functionality is the same. This forces companies to make a significant change in their pricing policy.
Women are no longer tolerant of the trope that they are gullible or over-sensitive. They are demanding accountability for decades of damage done by companies in the feminine products industry and rightfully so.
Hopefully, we are moving forward and the concept of pink tax will be one for the history books.