BY HOPE NGO
The next time you head to your favorite Target, Walgreens, or CVS and you have time to kill, do a price check for both men’s and women’s shaving products. You may find that a woman’s razor, shaving gel or foam could cost up to double that of a similar men’s product in a similar size. U.S. News calls this the “shrink it and pink it” approach, which means women can end up paying more for a similar product than men do.
And the manufacturing and marketing strategy works, because as Ian Parkman, an academic at the University of Portland, tells U.S. News, “Manufacturers can find some consumers who are not aware of price differences or are willing to pay for something that’s really the same as the male version.” To make matters worse, some items which U.S. News says were marketed to women actually came in a smaller size, which also means it had less of the physical product.
Let’s call this the ‘pink tax’ — because it’s a thing
It may not seem like much, paying an extra ten cents here or a quarter there, but The Street warns that the gender-based price discrimination — also known as the “pink tax” — could end up costing women thousands of dollars over a lifetime. From Cradle to Cane (a 2015 study by New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs) reported a significant gender-driven price gap between items made for men and women, as well as boys and girls. The price gap was found in products like personal care (13 percent); home health care and adult clothing (8 percent); girls’ toys (7 percent)… and even items that were simply pink in color.
This issue is particularly sensitive because of a gender-led pay gap between men and women, which Pew Research says was about 15 cents on average in 2018. In some cases, women between the ages of 25 to 34 earned 89 cents for every dollar a man of the same age group earned.
So the next time you’re tempted to grab something because it looks girly and pink, be aware that it’s just a marketing ploy to get you to pay more money than your peers who may not be charmed by pastel shades.