I guess this will be diving straight into TMI territory, but I want to tell you what I was thinking about as I looked at a box of clotrimazole external cream this morning. My first thought went something like, “Of course they thought the box should be pink. We all know pink is the favourite colour of vaginas around the world.” Seriously though, the pink colour of the box got me thinking about what has come to be called the “Pink Tax.” The most common manifestation of the Pink Tax is the overpricing of products and services meant for women compared to those meant for men. It is estimated women pay up to 43% more than men for items such as razors, soap and shampoo (Canadian Labour Institute for Social and Economic Fairness, 2018). Another form is getting less value for your money, like charging the same price for two women’s razors as men get charged for four. You might be thinking, “Sure, but yeast infection creams have no male equivalence.” You’d be wrong. It is another form of the Pink Tax, tricking consumers into thinking that a product is only for women and can’t be criticised for having a higher price point than the equivalent product for men. In reality, women rub the same anti-fungal cream used by men to treat their Athlete’s Foot on their little blue box when it starts to feel itchy.
Yet another form of Pink Tax is that women have to pay so much for feminine products. I will use the example of female versus male prisoners. Many prisons in the United States of America provide a small wage to their inmates for jobs performed while in custody. It is usually enough to allow the prisoner some money to spend at the canteen or even have a little money upon leaving the institution. However, at an average pay rate of $1 a day, a woman in jail will only save up enough money for a box of tampons each month. How could anyone not see this as gender discrimination?
Another example would be girls from low-income families having to stay home from school a few days a month because they can’t afford feminine products. This puts them at a disadvantage when competing with their male or more financially stable peers. Some women have tried to level the playing field by going on birth control to end their need for these feminine products to discover lawmakers have legislated against their anatomy based on religion. So much for separation of church and state. I think it is time for more governments to follow the example of Scotland, providing feminine products to women for free. It is frankly hypocritical for lawmakers to claim they value women when they are financially punishing them for having high-maintenance bodies.
Canadian Labour Institute for Social and Economic Fairness. (Oct. 6, 2018). Pink Tax: Women Pay a High Price Just for Being Female. http://www.canadianlabourinstitute.org/story/pink-tax