Pink Tax: The extra price you pay for being a woman!
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<p>Did you know that some personal care products and services for women cost more than those for men? If not, then have we got some news for you! Commonly referred to as Pink Tax, it is an extra amount charged on products designed for and targeted specifically towards women even when its equivalent for men costs much less. This concept of gender-based pricing is now so deeply entrenched in the system, that it often gets overlooked by the majority of consumers. </p> <p>Packaged in hues of pink and purple, “female” products cannot be hard to miss on the shelves of your regular grocery store. Fragrances like Sweet Pea and Cherry Blossom combined with glittery packaging often make us turn a blind eye towards the rugged blue-black packaging of products marketed towards men. But, is it truly worth the extra cost you end up paying for a dash of colour or a spritz of perfume?</p> <p>Something as small as a razor aimed towards women costs more than the ones available for men. While a pack of 5 Gillette razors for men costs approximately Rs 88, a similar pack of 4 Gillete razors for women costs around Rs 280. The concept of invisible tax also applies to personal care services which lead to an increase in the cost for women. A salon would charge more for women’s haircuts or massages than it would for a similar service for men. </p> <p>After a series of protests and rallies, in 2018 the Indian Government did away with the 12 percent GST on sanitary products. This is not considered as pink tax but it was nonetheless a huge amount of tax being levied on a product of necessity. Sadly, the prices of sanitary products continue to remain pretty high irrespective of the tax slash.</p> <p>According to the study, <em>Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer</em> by The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, on average, “personal care products cost 13 percent more for women than men.”</p> <p>As per recent research carried out in Mumbai by the World Bank, there is also an “implicit surcharge” or pink tax on “women’s mobility.” The research found that over the years the mobility pattern has undergone a huge change. While men have shifted to two or four-wheelers, women continue to use low-quality modes of transport like rickshaws and taxis which deem to be more expensive.</p> <p><strong>Why should women be made to pay extra?</strong> In a research by the Joint Economic Committee: US Congress in 2016, it was highlighted that one of the major explanations for levying pink tax is the difference in cost of production. For instance, some products that require a specific colour or scent will have a higher cost of manufacture, leading to a spike in product pricing.</p> <p><strong>Why is there a need to do away with pink tax?</strong> As predicted by the World Economic Forum, the existing gender pay gap will take around 136 years to close. From the film industry to farm labour, women in every sector are paid way less than their male counterparts. Hence, charging extra for everyday products will only make life more difficult for women.</p> <p><strong>What can you do to avoid this extra cost?</strong> The first step is to keep yourself informed about the prices as it will help in making an informed choice. The second step is to understand that whether a razor is blue or pink in colour, both will do the same task of hair removal. And if you don’t like using products with a musky fragrance, you can always opt for gender-neutral options.</p> <p>The concept of pink tax is quite unfair and steps are being taken to get rid of this invisible cost. Scotland emerged as the first country to make tampons and pads free for everyone. Also, the famous supermarket brand Tesco in the UK has slashed the prices of razors for women. But these are only baby steps as we still have a long way to go to arrive at a more gender-equal market.</p> <p> </p>