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“The Pink Tax” : The Real Cost of Women’s Products

You may have noticed when walking along the aisles of a pharmacy or supermarket that for many products there are male and female options available for similar items. While women’s versions are pink and small with pretty labels, men’s are blue and tend to be larger and more sturdy. This is, however, not because men and women actually require separate products. It is a strategy practiced by manufacturers and marketers whereby the gendering of items in this manner actually lead to higher sales. As people, we like to buy products that are made especially to suit our gender and this is true for both women and men. One of the most famous examples of gendered marketing is the Yorky campaign where their tag line was “It’s not for girls”. You would think that cutting out half of the population as potential customers would harm the company’s profitability, but in fact by marketing the product as exclusively for males, their sales increased dramatically. While the tag line way offend or even anger you, what should anger you more is that this practice is actually to the detriment of women, as they consistently pay more than men for the same product. Products like razors, shaving foams, shampoos, conditioners and even toys and clothes have been found to be up to 37% more costly for women than for their male peers. A phenomenon which is being called “the pink tax”. This is shocking when you think about the accumulative cost of this additional charge for women over the course of a lifetime. Taking the razor as an example, the female versions are not only more expensive, but actually contain less material and do not work as effectively as men’s razors. The prices are hiked purely because they are pink, feminine looking and made for women. The “pink tax” continues to make women pay more because people are generally unaware that this occurs. The prices of goods are often difficult to compare as male and female sections are separated and placed at opposite ends of shops. Once you overcome the deeply ingrained need to keep within the gender codes of colour and shape, as a solution, many women are choosing to buy men’s products instead as a cheaper alternative. But this should not be the only option available for women to pay equal prices, with greater knowledge of this we can hold companies accountable and finally put an end to this sexist practice.  

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