The cost of being a woman: how to push back against the pink tax


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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.

pink tax the cost of being a woman

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.

pink tax women pay more

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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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.
Mike Richards
March 14, 2020 6.29pm

Well, razors - we have to shave every day, unlike women. And the pay gap has been disproved over and over again (in fact, look at the State Government Awards, which give women equal pay) and the fact that men are more likely than a woman to die in a workplace accident because we choose more dangerous (and higher paying) jobs.

How about you also consider the LACK of men in teaching, childcare and other female dominated professions (and the lack of opportunities for promotion for men in those 'girl clubs' ?)

But how about the REAL cost of being a man - the side you never hear about ?

That men make up :-

76% of suicides

85% of homeless

70% of homicide victims

40% of domestic abuse victims

The majority of victims of violent crime

And that we serve 64% longer sentences in jail and are 3.4 times more likely to be imprisoned than a woman for the same crime.

When you consider that we also live shorter lives than women, get a fraction of the male cancer (e.g. prostate) versus female cancer research dollars and are more likely to not have access to or custody of our kids in the Family Court, then how about you count that into it too ?

why are men annoying
November 10, 2020 10.08am

men do one thing and its try to disprove the oppression women have faced for years. the patriarchy enforces all these stereotypes about men (men are stronger, they need to earn, they can't be victims of domestic or sexual abuse, women should look after children so they should be the ones to have custody of children, yadda yadda), so technically speaking, while i understand that what men face might be horrible, i can't bring myself to be sympoathetic because the system men themseleves created to oppress women is now (and has always been) hurting them as well.


Harriet Jones
May 25, 2021 1.33pm

You seem to be being very defensive, No one is denying that men have different needs compared to women but this article is specifically about the unfair prices that women are forced to pay for essential items.

Aileena Thomas
January 13, 2022 12.42pm

Mike Richards look at the real cost of being a women:

-Pink tax

-Sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace

-Domestic violence

-Sexual discrimination

- The fear of walking alone after dark because you don't want to be raped and murdered

Not to say that men cannot have these things happen to them. But the statistics of people who are affected by these issues are overwhelmingly women.

August 11, 2020 9.18am

OMG you are so pathetic. Mike Richards, my hair grows back to be prickly enough by the next day to justify another shave. And what does the frequency of shaving sessions have to do the price of a single razor?

But anyways, nice statistics, the domestic violence statistic is very questionable though (IPV? severity? in the past 12 months? meta-analysis?). Here's one I have; women are twice as likely as men to be in poverty so excuse this woman for writing about a legitimate issue that isn't about men.

Just admit you don't care about women. You don't really care about suicide, homelessness, homicide victims, domestic violence, violent crimes, sentencing rates, family court or even care about men for that matter. You're just using male-dominated statistics with no contextualisation on random and unrelated issues, unprovoked, to derail conversations about women's issues.

The fact that you decided that an ideal platform for issues that disproportionately affect men is in the comment section of an article with a headline that was so clearly about a woman's issue, that you dismissed because you just so happen to not think it's a legitimate thing before you proceeded with your whataboutmenism, makes it very obvious.

It's not that you just don't care about women. You want women to suffer a loss because you feel that the advancement of women's rights and well being results in a loss for you.

What you are doing right here in this comment section is not advocacy for men. It's under the guise of advocacy for men with the purpose of hampering women's advancement.