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July 23 2019

Two Truths and a Lie: The Pink Tax

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

Everyone loves the party game/icebreaker “two truths and a lie.”

Can you identify which of the following is NOT true about the “Pink Tax?”

  1. Everyday products for women cost roughly 7 percent more than those for men.

  2. The pink tax is driven by sexism against women.

  3. Women can overcome the pink tax themselves.

A.) True. A New York City government study of the gender pricing of goods across multiple industries, found that women’s products cost 7 percent more than similar products for men. However, as the report states, “Men’s and women’s products are rarely identical, making exact comparisons difficult.” 

Many women’s products work differently, smell differently, or contain different levels and mixes of active and inactive ingredients. If you’ve ever worn your brother’s or husband’s deodorant, you’ll know what I mean. Products are also packaged and marketed differently to appeal to the genders. The costs of research, development, and marketing are factored into the higher prices.

B.) False. The “pink tax” is another victimhood myth perpetuated by the left that corporations charge women more for everyday products and services like razors, shampoo, clothes, dry cleaning, hair cuts, adult diapers, toys and more just because they are sexist. 

Businesses are not in a conspiracy to discriminate against women. Women often will pay more for a good or service they value than men. For example, a woman in need of a haircut may have the choice of a barbershop or a salon that are located next to each other. Even if the barbershop could deliver the haircut she wants in a quick time, this consumer may still choose to patron the salon and pay more. That’s her choice. 

C.) True. Women who don’t want to pay more for their products can do something about it. 

Women could purchase cheaper products that are marketed to men, if they don’t mind the differences, or purchase gender-neutral products that aren’t marketed or designed for either women or men. 

They could also boycott stores or brands with glaring price differences, but support those who charge the same price. Dry cleaners are great examples. Some dry cleaners charge more to dry clean women’s blouses compared to men’s button-down shirts. At one time, when women’s tops were more difficult and time-consuming to clean and press because of cuts and fabrics, it may have made sense to charge more. Now, dry cleaners are increasingly moving toward charging the same fee per item and not distinguishing between men’s and women’s clothing - putting old school dry cleaners out of business.

Businesses respond to supply and demand. Prices fall when there aren’t enough customers or there’s too much supply of good.

So, don’t fall for the line that as a woman you are a victim of the corporate “pink tax.” If you don’t want to spend more, you don’t have to.

 




Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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