Pink Tax: Shaving the Pay Gap

What’s going on here?

A bill has been put before Parliament to ban the sexist “Pink Tax” on toiletries.

What does this mean?

“Pink Tax” is a term used to describe the idea that identical products are priced differently based on the targeted gender. Women currently have to pay significantly more money for toiletries such as razors and deodorants, than men. Often, the products are identical or have only minor differences (such as changes in colour) which in no way justifies a price difference. However, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine is advocating for the “Pink Tax” to be banned. She has introduced the Gender-based Pricing (Prohibition) Bill and presented it to the House of Commons. It aims to end “discrimination and scrap the price gender gap” that exists when men and women shop by removing the “sexist tax”. The bill will need the support of the government if it is to gain traction in the coming months. 

What’s the big picture effect?

In modern times it seems unthinkable that such arbitrary pricing methods are being used simply based on the targeted gender. With the current focus and surge towards gender equality bills like the Gender-based Pricing Prohibition are crucial in combatting such injustices and making large scale changes. The bill would hopefully result in a market-wide alteration of prices which would yield tangible results for women all over the UK. For example, after a petition was made in 2016 about the unfair prices of its razors, the health and beauty chain Boots reviewed its own brand products and carried out a price alteration. It did so after it was pointed out that they charged £2.29 for an eight-pack of women’s razors compared to £1.49 for a ten-pack of male razors.

Implementing these changes will not only produce an immediate saving on toiletries for women, but will also help reduce the “double whammy” effect on women that Jardine has identified. This effect is a result of women not only having to pay more for essential items but also incurring the financial hardship of the gender pay gap too. A 2016 Times investigation found that women are charged on average 37% more for toys, cosmetics and clothes than their male counterparts. Removing this extra charge will surely help to lessen the effect of the pay gap and hopefully spark more change. Especially on International Women’s Day, it is important to note the injustices that surround gender and aim to address them. This bill could make a huge impact in balancing gender experiences in the UK, and that is well overdue. 

Report written by Connor B.

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