Monday 8 October 2018

The Pink Tax

I may have lived under a rock for the majority of my 34 years of life but I was pretty oblivious to the term 'The Pink Tax' until very recently. But after reading a few articles, I've come to realise there is still a HUGE difference in how much particular things, aimed at females, cost compared to similar products for the opposite sex. Why?

'The Pink Tax' refers to the extra amount that females are charged for certain products and services, usually health and beauty products, clothes and personal hygiene products.

So why is it that in this day and age, when in some cases women are still being paid less than men, are we also being hit by markups on certain products that are almost, if not completely identical to the male equivalent? 

It's bad enough, in my opinion, that the government still class sanitary wear as 'luxury, non-essential items' as apparently, EU laws prevent them from lowering the VAT or scrapping the tax entirely. I don't know about you ladies, but I know I certainly didn't sign up for that bloody annoying (excuse the pun!!), often rather painful and uncomfortable time of the month and as much as it is our clever little bodies doing it's thing, if I could have the choice, I'd go without. So why are we forced to pay out for products that many of us cannot live without?

I don't choose to menstruate. Periods. Luxury? Am I missing something?

Especially when, wait for this ladies... Jaffa Cakes are considered essential (carry zero tax). I mean, I'm all for a Jaffa Cake, and I'm full of gratitude for that packet of tax-free Jaffa Cakes I devoured the other day ;) but I'm pretty sure that compared to a tampon, it's hardly essential. 
In 2016, 320K people signed a petition to scrap the Tampon Tax, and in March 2016, Parliament accepted an amendment proposed by Labour MP Paula Sherriff that would end Tampon Tax once and for all in the UK. Although we're still waiting on that...

However, we must look at the other side too and note that the revenue the tax generates is often donated to charities such as women's shelters and providing sanitary for women and girls in poorer countries and while that is fantastic and softens the blow slightly, it doesn't take away the fact that according to recent studies, a woman will spend around £18k on period related items (sanitary ware, replacing underwear, pain relief etc) in her lifetime. 

What would you prefer to spend £18k on?

Let's look at health and beauty products. We all need deodorant right? We all have areas of the body we need to shave? So why is it that women often pay up to 34% more for toiletries than men?

Since learning more about The Pink Tax, I decided to check this out for myself.
Bic razors, the standard, no-frills disposable ones. We have a pack of 10 orange razors on the Boots website. And then we have a similar pack aimed at women, but it's a pack of 8. It is packaged towards women; 'Twin Lady' in bright pink packaging and cute pastel coloured razors. But other than the colour, the razors are exactly the same; twin blade razors, both labelled 'sensitive'.
Women's: £2.69 for pack of 8, 34p per unit. 
Mens: £2.00 for pack of 10, 20p per unit.
You don't need me to do the math!

Of course, there is nothing to stop us women buying the simple orange ones. But they are often held on different aisles or stored separately, a men's section and women's section and it is often habit to be attracted to the women's section. So is this just a case of clever attraction marketing?

I popped into Superdrug and headed down the aisle with the shaving products. 
Make your own minds up...

Next up, I looked at Boots No7 Eye Cream. Now, of course, it is an individual choice to purchase eye cream, but it is also a fact, an unfortunate fact ;), that women's collagen levels deplete faster than men and that we age much quicker yet there was a huge £3 difference between the men's version and the women's alternative which looked to have similar active ingredients and state to do a similar job.
It doesn't stop there, reports show that people have found a difference between boys and girls school uniforms, pink and blue toys and lots more.
Things are getting better though, with Asda, Boots and Tesco rolling back their prices on items such as deodorant to match the gender alternative. Cosmeceutical grade company ActiLabs use the same formulation eye cream for both the women and men's ranges, just in different coloured packaging to suit both, at the exact same price. (give me a shout if you fancy giving it a try with 10% off!

So what is the answer? 

Publically shaming brands on social media?
Starting more petitions?
Or simply just shopping better and not falling for the pretty pink stuff?

What is your view on this?

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