The Pink Tax: an unequal and unreasonable tax added specifically to products or services aimed at the female population. From personal care to vehicle maintenance, women are, on average, paying 42% more than men for exactly the same items. It’s an added cost that is completely unjustified in the manufacturing business and in our society today.

So why do women end up paying more for the exact same products? According to researchers, the predominant reason is because women are unaware they’re being charged more for the same products. “Manufacturers can find some consumers who are not aware of price differences or are willing to pay for something that’s really the same as the male version,” says Ian Parkman, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Portland. “[With razors], the blue version [might be] $1.99, and the pink razor [might be] $2.50, but pink plastic versus blue plastic can’t explain the price difference.”

Not only are companies adding tax to products aimed at women, they’re also putting less in said products. A tactic called “shrink it and pink it” makes the product appear more ‘feminine’ by decreasing the amount in the product and therefore urging females to pick it up, even if it costs more than the male version. This feeds into cultural stereotypes about how women should look- small, dainty and ‘girly’. Women are paying 30 to 50% more on items because our socialized culture encourages them to look a certain way and buy goods according to that. Unfortunately, the Pink Tax begins at birth. A study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that across the 6 categories of children’s toys, the girl’s toys were consistently more expensive than the boys. They also discovered that girls were paying more for elbow/shin pads, averaging at a shocking 13% more than those advertised for boys. It’s horrific how the Pink Tax is being pushed onto children- how are we ever going to achieve equality and equal pay between genders when girls are socialised from a young age to make less money than boys but pay more for products than them?

So, what can we do to combat the Pink Tax? Firstly, do not be fooled by the packaging: ‘designed for women’ is just a way to say ‘the exact same as men's but pink’. Male razors, for example, typically cost less and are more effective for shaving as they have more blades and are flexible to curve to the contours of the face, making them perfect to shave the rest of the body. Who cares if the packaging isn’t pink! Moreover, we must do more to help abolish the Pink Tax. Publicly shaming companies for overcharging on women’s products seems to be the only way to get them to act on their wrongdoings. Petitions and protests do not encourage companies to act fast, but public shame and sales dropping does.

We as a society need to aid in the end of the Pink Tax. It’s unjustifiable and extremely discriminatory. In 2019, when women’s rights and equal pay have never been more of a prominent issue, overcharging women for the exact same items is not acceptable.

We must fight for change.