What is Pink Tax and who gets impacted by it? Find out
When GST (Goods and Services Tax) came into being in India, tax on sanitary pads was a whopping 12%. It was only withdrawn in response to multiple protests from activists across the country. Personal care products have been an easy target for price discrimination between women and men consumers. Starting from cosmetics and accessories to clothes and shoes, products specifically designed and marketed to women cost more than the gender-neutral ones.
For instance, in a salon, the same hair cut costs more for women compared to that of men. As per a recent study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, personal care products meant for women were 48% more expensive than that for men.
Why do women pay more?
There are several arguments to this. One theory suggests the cost of manufacturing women’s products is higher than that of men, given that that there’s higher R&D cost, and additional expenses in terms of designing and packaging. Also, women are assumed to be less price-elastic, as their purchases are governed by liking for a product or brand and are less likely to shift.
Men, on the other hand, are assumed to be making purchases basis value. Also, it’s a marketing gimmick to repurpose a generic product for a different target audience. Women are often not aware of this price discrimination.
It’s a double whammy for women, considering there’s disparity in income earned between men and women and then having to pay more for products designed for them. Pink tax is subtle and not illegal, but it’s substantial. So, be aware of it and opt for generic versions of products wherever possible.