The cost of being a woman: how to push back against the pink tax
Women are still paying more for certain items than men, effectively shelling out a 'pink tax' for being female.
While GST has been removed on tampons and pads since January last year, is it time to outlaw discriminatory pricing of women's products?
Research shows that toys, clothing and personal hygiene products such as shampoo, deodorant and razors cost more if they are marketed to females than men. The discrepancy in the costs is called the 'pink tax' as sometimes the only difference between products is the colour.
New York's Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) released a report on the cost of the pink tax and found that, on average, women's products cost 7% more than similar products for men, with woman paying 8% more for adult clothing and 13% more for personal care products such as hair products, razors, deodorants and moisturisers.
According to ratings house Finder, examples in Australia reveal a similar price hike when it comes to personal care products marketed to women.
A study done by GetUp! in Australia found identical men's and women's shirts for sale at a number of well-known national retailers with the men's shirt retailing for $10 less in every case.
Then there are the dry-cleaning costs for women's shirts that can be as much as $3 more than men's, according to Finder.
Why? Most dry cleaners blame the equipment they use as it is designed for a standard men's business shirt which makes women' shirts harder to make.
Women's haircuts are typically more expensive than men's.
The higher prices come at a time when Australian women earn 13.9% less than men.
The average weekly ordinary full-time earnings (AWOTE) across all industries and occupations for women was $1508.50 compared to men's AWOTE of $1751.40 at November 2019.
What can women do to minimise their pink tax?
Finder has a few suggestions:
Buy cheaper men's products
Check out the equivalent personal care items in the men's section.
While they will say 'for men' on the label, Finder says there is a good chance they will cost a bit less and do the job just as well.
Check unit pricing where you can
Unit pricing is available in most supermarkets, some larger pharmacies and online. It gives you the total price of a product but also the cost per unit and allows you to do is truly compare apples with apples when it comes to pricing products.
There are examples of sneaky gender pricing when unit pricing is used such as a women's deodorant which appeared cheaper than the men's version but actually contained less product and ended up being more expensive.
Call out examples of unfair gender pricing
Online campaigner GetUp! encourages members of the public to capture their own examples of gender pricing and post them. You can find the link on the GetUp! website. Or use social media to contact and encourage companies to use fair pricing.
Negotiate a better deal
If you are in good financial shape, use your reputation to negotiate a better deal when applying for a loan or a line of credit or a mobile phone plan or energy deal. Finder says: "Give it a go, you might be surprised what you get if you ask. After all, you're worth it."
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