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Pink Tax, Power And The Gender Pay Gap


In this day and age we tend to think gender equality has gone a long way, is part of mainstream thinking and, while there is still work to be done, in day-to-day life generally progressing in the right direction.


So it can be surprising when you are faced with the most rudimentary examples of gender imbalance. The price of daily health and beauty essentials might not be what springs to mind when thinking of examples of gender inequality, but a study carried out by Couponbox revealed that the ‘pink tax’ was still alive and well throughout 2016.


What’s the Pink Tax?


The pink tax has received plenty of media attention of late, as it’s a premium that women find themselves paying on products simply because they are marketed for women, even when the male version is identical.


The Couponbox study showed that, while overall men pay more for the majority of the products surveyed, women usually have to spend more at a higher rate. Indeed, products and services marketed for women suffer an average percentage increase of 106%, while the same items marketed for men is 82%. Ouch! This means that while women pay an average of $5.64 for a bottle of deodorant, and men an average of $6.62, women will pay a whopping average of $34.42 per ounce of moisturizer to men’s’ $8.25. That’s more than four times the price!


Vitamin E lotion” (CC BY 2.0) by Ruth and Dave


But it’s not just the price difference in itself that’s causing upset among women’s rights groups. The fact remains that while women pay more for products at a higher rate than men, they also earn less. A study carried out by the National Women & Families Partnership in October 2016 showed that, overall, women living and working in the USA take home a pay check 20% smaller than a man working in the same position.


Women therefore not only earn less but also have a higher cost of living. And this can be a real problem for single women and women living as single mothers. Affording an apartment or simply putting food on the table can become a lot more difficult when you’re short those extra dollars. The research also revealed that if the annual gender pay gap was eliminated, a working woman would have enough money for approximately 78 more weeks of food for her family or even 11 additional months of rent payments. How much more would she be able to afford if the pink tax was also removed?


A touch of pink” (CC BY 2.0) by Graham Ó Síodhacháin


Viva La Revolution!


The good news is, as of August last year the Pink Tax Repeal Act was introduced to Congress by Representative Jackie Speier, where it was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The repeal aims “to prohibit the pricing of consumer products and services that are substantially similar if such products or services are priced differently based on the gender of the individuals for whose use the products are intended or marketed or for whom the services are performed or offered.” It is still awaiting an outcome.

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