We’re always told that being a female is expensive. But have you ever realised the extent of truth in this statement? Take away the make-up, the dresses, the fake tans, the hair products and the manicures. You’d think then we’d have no extra costs compared to men, right? Wrong. These extra costs, coined as the pink tax, are simply because we are females.
The pink tax is defined as the extra money that women pay for everyday items in comparison to men – from your shampoos and razors to clothing and dry-cleaning. Essentially, the pink tax is a form of gender-based pay discrimination.
In Australia, the gender pay gap is still a predominant feature of the workplace, with a national pay gap of 14% for full-time workers. This equates to more than a $250 difference every week between genders, and this is not even taking into consideration other factors such a race or ethnicity. On top of this, the pink tax incurs $1,300 every year in expenses for women, further widening this financial gap.
This becomes a problem for all women as the pink tax has crippling long-term effects. With lower-income but higher product/service prices, there is less money for women to start investing and less money to save or put into retirement funds. The pink tax, therefore, is something incredibly important to be aware of.
Examples of where you can see the pink tax include many hygiene products. More often than not, the only real difference between products marked as ‘male’ or ‘female’ is the price tag, particularly concerning razors, shampoos and body wash. A 2015 study conducted by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that women pay, on average, 7 per cent more than men for similar products. Shockingly, the pink tax can even be found within kid’s products, with items like helmets marketed to girls costing 13 per cent more than the boy equivalent.
Furthermore, a study by Finder found that, on average, women are paying $3 more than men with every shirt dry-cleaned. The explanation for this difference was because the machinery and equipment are designed for male shirts.
There are, however, ways to get around the pink tax. Firstly, always read the product’s fine prints. Understand what the differences are between the products and whether it is worth paying more for. Remember to always check volume sizes, and make sure they’re all in the same units when comparing. Secondly, shop in the men’s section. Stores may break different gender products, but don’t be afraid to look for hygiene products, clothing or toys in the men’s sections. You’ll get the same enjoyment out of these products at a cheaper price.
Finally, remember that in this day and age, everyone has an influential voice through social media. Use your platform to speak up against injustices you see or support organisations like GetUp! that are running campaigns to raise awareness about the pink tax. The first step is being aware of the pink tax, the next steps are up to you.