Gender discrimination is an issue that has been around for a very long time. There are multiple things and ways of living that cause the balance of equality to be inclined one way, systemically inclined men’s track, leaving women and other genders on the side. In this article, I argue that the pink tax is a way of systemic gender discrimination, especially towards women. To accomplish this, I am going to examine three aspects. First, I will briefly define pink tax. Next, I will study the influence of this tax in politics. Then, I will be inspecting the impact of this tax on women’s economy. Finally, I will exhibit some examples of this kind of discrimination.
It is essential to know beforehand what the meaning of pink tax is. It is understood by ‘pink tax” the extra cost that goods or services that are directed stereotypically to women have, in contrast with an alternative but exact product or service (Horowitz 2015). With that said, I can proceed to the political study.
How has the pink tax has influenced politics? In 1995, in California, Governor Wilson signed the AB 1100 bill submitted by then Assemblywoman Jackie Speier, in which the state banned the pricing of services according to the consumer’s gender (Warren 1995). Recently, In April of 2019, now Congresswoman Jackie Speier introduced the Pink Tax Repeal Act to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the 116th Congress. This bill attempts to prohibit the pricing of both products and services that are substantially similar from the same manufacturer, based on the gender of the consumers they are marketed to (US Congress 2019). In 2016, a debate about sexist gender pricing based on an investigation of The Times was secured in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom (UK Parliament 2016). This issue was categorized under sex discrimination by several of the members of parliament and resulted in an extensive eye-opening dialogue that showed strong evidence the discrimination of women by the UK’s largest retailers and markets (Ibid). In April of 2020, a bill to prohibit gender-based pricing was submitted in the House of Commons but has not yet been discussed (UK Parliament 2020). Similarly, in 2014 in France began an exhaustive investigation by France’s Socialist government about the pink tax after the French rights group, Georgette Sand, put this gender discrimination into evidence (Noack 2014). It is evidenced that the pink tax has been a recurring political issue since the end of the 1990s until now, showing us that gender discrimination can be so entrenched that it becomes systematized even in the market sector.
Continuing, I am going to inspect the impact of this tax on women’s economy. In December 2016, in the US, the Joint Economic Committee (2016) published a paper called “The Pink Tax. How Gender-Based Pricing Hurts Women’s Buying Power”. Mainly endorsed by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Moloney, this paper explains how the pink tax affects women when it comes to buying products and services and categorizes it as one more challenge in women’s lives (Ibid). Besides the fact that there is a significant gender pay gap, in which American women earn, on average, around 20 percent less than men, women are also at a disadvantage when it comes to consuming a good or service (Ibid). Research conducted by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (NYC DCA) determined that 42 percent of the time, women end up paying more than men for the same products, but gender categorized (Ibid). In the UK, research estimated that the gender pay gap is 19.2 percent, that products directed to women are 37 percent more expensive than men’s, and that each year, women pay £200 more than men for the same products (UK Parliament 2016). Being this said, there is evidence that the pink tax affects women’s economy by being an enhancer of the disadvantages of being a woman, therefore discriminating based on gender.
Finally, I am going to list some examples of pink tax around the world. This high price differs between the type of good and service. For instance, New York women, on average, pay more: 13 percent of the time for personal care, 7 percent for toys, 8 percent for adult clothing, and 8 percent more for senior and home health care (NYC Consumer Affairs 2015). In the UK, women pay, on average, 37 percent of the time more than men, such as women spend 49 percent more than men in standard razors (UK Parliament 2016). In Ecuador, after an investigation of the Universidad de Guayaquil, professor Diana Morán found out that women pay more than men on average, 36 percent of the time (Cárdenas 2019). Also, in Quito, women spend 13 percent of the time more for toys, 6 percent for technology, 4 percent for personal care, and 9,6% for services (Wilches 2018). Here, we can see that this is not just a first world issue. This means that this kind of discrimination has become systematic in women’s everyday lives around the world and that the market sector harms women.
In conclusion, the ‘pink tax’ has is definitely a systemic way of gender discrimination. First, it showed that women are affected by the extra cost of products and services while being paid less than men. Also, it showed that the pink tax has begun a discussion in politics, such as the submission of bills in the US Congress, a great debate in the House of Commons, and an extensive investigation by France’s Socialist government. Lastly, it exposed that in New York, women pay 42 percent of the time more than men, while in the UK, it is 37 percent of the time, and in Ecuador is 36 percent of the time. There is evidence that the pink tax is part of the market sector and represents every day systemic discrimination to women all over the world. This issue is critical to address because there are multiple types of silenced discrimination against women and other genders that need to be shown to the world to be fought against to finally reach equality. Meanwhile, what can we do to fight the pink tax?
Horowitz, Steven. 2015. “Is There Really A Pink Tax?” Accessed August 31, 2020. https://fee.org/articles/is-there-really-a-pink-tax/
Noack, Rick. 2014. “France investigates a secret ‘tax’ that target women.” The Washington Post. November 19, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/11/19/france-investigates-a-secret-tax-that-targets-women/
NYC Consumer Affairs. 2015. “From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer.” Accessed August 31, 2020. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dca/downloads/pdf/partners/Study-of-Gender-Pricing-in-NYC.pdf
UK Parliament. 2016. “Gender Pricing.” Accessed August 31, 2020. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160202/halltext/160202h0002.htm#16020270000003
UK Parliament. 2020. “Gender-based Pricing (Prohibition) Bill 2019-21.” Accessed August 31, 2020. https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2019-21/genderbasedpricingprohibition.html
U.S Congress Joint Economic Committee. 2016. “The Pink Tax. How Gender-Based Pricing Hurts Women’s Buying Power.” Accessed August 31, 2020. https://www.jec.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/8a42df04-8b6d-4949-b20b-6f40a326db9e/the-pink-tax—how-gender-based-pricing-hurts-women-s-buying-power.pdf
US Congress. 2019. “H.R 2048.” Accessed August 31, 2020. https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr2048/BILLS-116hr2048ih.pdf
Warren, Jennifer. 1995. “State Bans Gender Bias in Service Pricing.” Los Angeles Times. October 14, 1995. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1995-10-14-mn-56735-story.html
Wilces, Milalva. 2018. “Estudio Analítico del llamado ‘impuesto rosa’ y el grado de afectación en el Distrito Metropolitano de Quito.” Accessed August 31, 2020. http://www.dspace.uce.edu.ec/bitstream/25000/17655/1/T-UCE-0005-ADM-052-P.pdf