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Pink Tax

The term "Pink Tax" describes the invisible price that women must pay for goods that are created and advertised only for them. The Wikipedia defines it as the tendency for products marketed specifically toward women to be more expensive than those marketed for men.[1]

This phenomenon is often attributed to gender-based price discrimination, with the name stemming from the observation that many of the affected products are pink, the difference between the price paid by female and male customers for essentially the same goods and services. The pink tax is present in a variety of industries, from children's toys and services to clothes and personal care goods. for the same/similar thing, women are charged more than males.

For example, a disposable blue or black color razor for men costs around Rs. 20, while a pink disposable razor for ladies costs around Rs. 55. This is also true with salon services. A haircut for men, for example, costs around Rs. 150, whereas a haircut for ladies might cost up to Rs. 600 or even more. On similar lines, one of the most generic 150 ml deodorants for men cost ₹114, whereas the cost of an essential women's deodorant of the same quantity starts from ₹136 onwards on the e-commerce platform. In a nutshell, things marketed mostly to women and advertised primarily in pink cost more.

A pink tax is a type of gender-based pricing discrimination that refers to an intrinsic cost that women incur when purchasing goods manufactured and promoted exclusively for women as compared to male-made and marketed goods, which are typically less expensive.

Effect on Society:

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), women work more and are paid less. The gender divide is already prevalent in workplaces with a limited number of women participating in leadership roles across sectors. The international organisation mentioned that the gender gap exists in all the countries worldwide, and globally it has narrowed only by a bit in the past decade.[2]

On one hand, we are not remunerating women enough for their work, and secondly are charging them more for almost the similar products than men. On average, there is a 19 per cent gap between women's salaries and men's salaries across all sectors in India, and more so in agriculture, where women undertake 80 per cent of the work.

The gender gap is further widened and a certain idea and standard of beauty is reinforced when expensive products marketed toward women are mandated. People's mental health might be harmed by not adhering to such aesthetic standards, making them more prone to developing social anxiety disorder, despair, and loneliness. Additionally, the division is made wider by the identification of colours with genders. The idea that blue is associated with boys and pink with girls restricts the options available to the two genders and forces them to conform to social norms while also marginalizing other genders.

In 2018, the Government of India slashed the 12 per cent GST on menstrual sanitary products, only after a relentless campaign by activists. Of course, this wouldn't be an example of pink tax in light of the fact that menstrual sanitary products are used only by one section of society. However, it is still very important to note this draconian tax on necessary products because it only adds to the monetary burden of the pink tax, which is uncalled for.

It was known as Lahu ka Lagaan in Hindi, which translates as "blood tax". The announcement their campaign had been successful was made by India's interim finance minister, Piyush Goyal, who said he was "sure all mothers and sisters will be very happy to hear that sanitary pads are now 100% exempt from tax". Campaigner Amar Tulsiyan, founder of Niine Movement, went further, saying it was "a big win for everyone" in India. Period poverty is not only a problem affecting women in India. According to charity Plan International UK, one in 10 disadvantaged girls below the age of 21 cannot afford sanitary products.[3]

Anne M. Rios, Executive Director of Think Dignity says that "For many, the cost of these products are prohibitive, and whether or not deciding if they are going to eat or buy menstrual products, the majority of folks will choose eating. This leads to unsanitary practices like using old socks, rags or clothes as pads, which can lead to significant health risks such as HPV and incontinence."[4]

The United Nations has called on countries to eliminate the pink tax to ensure women have full and equal access to economic participation.[5]

How to try and Avoid Pink Tax?

  • Buying gender neutral things for your daughter This might be tricky if she really has her heart set on the pink thing. But it can be a teachable moment to talk about your values.

    It might mean a tantrum or two, but it might also mean that in the long run you'll be buying your daughter better, more engaging toys in addition to saving money. Whelan says she avoids buying the pink Duplos (Legos for toddlers) for her daughters because the gender-neutral ones are just more interesting, and picks the "boy" Happy Meals at McDonald's for the same reason. And some gendered toys can send an early signal to girls that they're not welcome in science and engineering fields.[6]
  • Support businesses that are opposing the pink tax by offering gender-neutral pricing.

    Clothing marketed towards girls costs 4 percent more than those marketed towards young boys, and similarly, clothing for women is around 8 percent more expensive than clothing for men. This can be difficult to avoid; however, buying clothing second-hand is a great way to dodge the pink tax.[7]

Its 2022 and the struggles to have a equal society with no discrimination against men, women and all the other genders still exists as we try and move forward in creating a equal society things like Pink tax and Tampon tax hinder makes it gender biased Researchers and decision-makers who study the pink tax also look at the costs associated with items that women must purchase but men do not, such as tampons.

Recognizing the burden that taxes on tampons and other feminine sanitary goods inflict on women, particularly those with lower incomes, advocates have long fought to reduce or remove these levies. Several nations have done away with taxes on tampons and other feminine items, including Australia, Canada, India, and Rwanda.

Written By: Vedanti Wanjari, Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur

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