PINK TAX; it’s a term that has been bandied around a lot lately, but what does it actually mean? Some claim it’s a subtle kind of discrimination, while others claim that it places a significant financial strain on women. Then there are those who assert that it is unquestionably illicit. Whatever your stance on the problem, there is no doubt that pink tax is a noteworthy issue that has an impact on a large number of women all over the world. Let’s examine what pink tax is, how it works, and how it creates gender-based pricing disparities. So, buckle up and let’s dive right in!
The phrase “pink tax” comes from the notion that most things marketed to women are pink in colour. It is primarily the additional cost placed on things that are targeted towards women and priced higher than equivalent products for men. In other words, the pink tax can also be seen as a reflection of broader societal issues, including the gender wage gap, which is the difference in pay between men and women for the same work.
In economic terms, "pink tax" refers to corporate pricing tactics or government regulations that increase transactional costs (often higher taxes or prices) for women. To maximise profits, corporations employ a selling strategy known as price discrimination. A disposable blue or black razor, for example, costs roughly Rs. 20, but a pink disposable razor for ladies costs around Rs. 55. In a nutshell, anything marketed exclusively to women and advertised largely in pink is more expensive.
According to research, only 23% of Indians are aware of the extra amount women are charged for products compared to men. One example of this is the 12-14% GST levied on female hygiene products such as sanitary napkins and tampons, while male contraceptives are tax-free. Additionally, a study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that products that perform the same function for both genders cost 7% more for women. This gender-based price discrimination reflects the societal stereotype that women are influenced by emotions while purchasing goods and are less price-elastic, which is a harmful and outdated assumption.
One of the reasons for the pink tax is the use of "gendered marketing" which is employed by companies to sell products differently to men and women, even if the products themselves are similar. This perpetuates gender stereotypes and makes women feel like they need to buy certain products to fit in with the societal expectations of femininity. While women's products are marketed with soft colours and floral scents, men's products are marketed with darker colours and aggressive imagery. This culture of gender socialisation leads to the pink tax, with women being charged more for products marketed to them, simply because of their gender.
Another reason is that women's products are often considered "specialty" items, while men's products are seen as the default, leading to the pink tax. This perpetuates the idea that women's products are less important or valuable than men's, resulting in women's sections being smaller and more expensive in stores.
According to Global Gender Gap Report 2022, women in India face a 19% pay gap compared to men, with women making up 80% of the agricultural sector. The pink tax and gender pay gap are independent issues that, when coupled, make women more financially vulnerable by reducing their purchasing power. The pink tax raises women's expenses, while the gender pay gap cuts short their earnings, resulting in a significant reduction of their disposable income. This creates a lose-lose situation for women, particularly those with lower-wage occupations.
So, why is the pink tax relevant? Well, for starters, it can eventually add up to a sizable sum of money. Studies suggest that women spend significantly more on goods and services than men do over the course of their lifetimes. This can have a ripple effect on women's financial security, as they may have less money to save for retirement or invest in their future.
But beyond the financial impact, the pink tax is also a matter of principle. Women shouldn't be required to pay more than men for the same goods and services solely based on their gender. It is a form of prejudice that feeds into negative gender stereotypes and upholds inequality.
In conclusion, the pink tax reinforces gender inequality and has a direct impact on the financial security of women. We can contribute to a more fair society by educating people about the pink tax, promoting gender-neutral pricing, and fighting for laws that deal with discrimination and the gender pay gap.