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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

What is Pink Tax and Why Should You Care?

When I’m buying products, I’m almost always drawn to the pink ones. Then I look across the aisle to see almost the exact same product marketed to men, but at a much lower price. From razors, to painkillers, and even calculators (weird, right?). There are examples in most large and small retailers making it difficult to avoid falling for these marketing ploys. Unfortunately, we have pink tax to blame for that.

After investigating the reason for these taxes on women’s products and services, I could find no good explanation other than to maximise profits by taking advantage of women. This makes a lot of these products anchored in deep rooted gender inequalities, as the accessibility of products targeted at women is reduced, an inequity which is exacerbated by the disproportionate accessibility of men’s products and services. Research says that women are paying an astonishing 42% more than men most of the time, for example 13% more for personal care products and 8% more for clothing.

Therefore, it would seem that abolishing the pink tax would have huge consequences on the profits of large companies who exploit this misleading marketing strategy. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. A study by Prior Catalyst demonstrated that retracting the pink tax on products would cause an increase in net earnings for Gillette, from 8% to 20.19%. This is due to an increased demand following the lowered prices, which results in greater earnings. So why do they continue to tax us?

I believe it’s because women’s earning, and spending power is continually increasing. Coupled with this, time and time again we still go back for those same products because we always need more period pain relief, more razors, more shampoo, and another haircut. Therefore, this is a secure way for companies to keep their profits up (while crossing their fingers that we won’t notice).

It might be easy, then, for someone to ask why don’t you just buy the men’s products instead? However, this problem goes beyond retail; it reaches into almost every corner of our lives. For example, one study found that women are usually charged more for their car insurance – likely based on harmful stereotypes that women are bad drivers- despite men being more likely to engage in dangerous driving habits.

This problem extends to children’s items, including toys and clothes, despite children themselves not having spending power. According to a poll by Channel Mum, two thirds of parents say they had noticed a kids ‘gender pay gap’, with the founder of the website, Siobhan Freegard commenting: “Treating baby girls as a commodity to be exploited aged just 12 months old is terrible. The so-called ‘pink tax’ is bad enough for adult women but a pink tax for tots is just plain wrong.”

A spokesperson for Argos explained that children’s toys are not marketed in a gendered way with the only difference usually being the colour. Asda dismissed claims that it was pricing children’s products based on gender, with a spokesperson claiming: “The price of our clothing is influenced by many things, but never by gender”. Either way, there are ways for companies to reduce the cost of items for girls and women to make them more accessible to those who need them.

Women don’t deserve to suffer financially just because we want to shave our legs, alleviate our period pain, or even drive our cars, especially because we are expected to accept earning less on average than men. This is a systemic problem which won’t go away until providers of goods and services make a change to the way they produce and price them for women.

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Sophie Robinson

Nottingham '23

Hi, I am currently a third year English student and look forward to writing articles for Her Campus :)