Inflation and Its Impact on the Pink Tax

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The “pink tax” is not a formal tax, but rather a form of gender-based discrimination in pricing. This term justifies why some of the products marketed toward women appear to be more expensive than the same kinds of products marketed toward men. 

Recently, legislators introduced the “Pink Tax Repeal Act” which doesn’t allow the companies to sell substantially similar products at different prices, just because their target audiences differ. 

The pink tax first came out in a 1994 California Assembly Office of Research report. The report showed nearly 64% of stores charged more for similar products marketed toward women than to men. Surely, a law was passed for retailers, and the pricing system faced changes. 

BUT

Unfortunately, the problem was far from over. Almost every industry can be a good example of how women pay more; studies show, that in the U.S. a woman can expect to spend 7% more on average than a man for similar products. And it’s even without a multi-billion beauty industry. 

So, how can we work this out?

The Price for Being a Woman

The pink tax goes deeper than you think. We mentioned the period products, but what else is more expensive for women than men? 

Here’s the list of Top 10 products: 

  • Shampoo and conditioner: 48% pink tax
  • Personal urinals: 21% pink tax
  • Shirts: 15% pink tax
  • Supports and braces: 15% pink tax
  • Dress shirts: 13% pink tax
  • Helmets and pads: 13% pink tax
  • Canes: 12% pink tax
  • Lotion: 11% pink tax
  • Razor cartridges: 11% pink tax
  • Razors: 11% pink tax 

Sometimes, high-priced personal products are the reasons people get stuck in debt. If you have a stable income, you can skip the inflation part; however, if you’re carefully calculating your budget, it is tough to make the ends meet. 

Let’s say, you apply for a $300 loan bad credit history might be the risk factor, and you won’t get approval. The same works with buying the daily necessities: the more they cost, the higher the risks are for low-income women.

Men, on the contrary, have very few products, that are more expensive for them: underwear, digestive health products, and shaving cream. The most expensive consumer category for both women and men is adult clothing.

Tips on Avoiding the Pink Tax

This won’t be a typical article, with breaking down the reasons and offering simple solutions at the end. No, we are going to start with the best saving tricks you can apply today to save money. Here it goes: 

  • Reduce your purchase rush — let’s be honest, do you need the latest bag from Fendi or the dress from YSL? Many women got sucked into shopping without having the financials to afford the new stuff. Try to be more concerned about the things you really need and the things you can live without. Try mobile apps to plan your budget and improve your financial literacy.
  • Choose companies that chase gender equity — such as Mirvac or Gender Fair. According to the annual global report made by Equileap, Mirvac has a score of 79% on the gender equality scale.
  • Call out the pink tax in action — don’t hesitate to wait for a store manager and see justice serve its purpose. If you see any examples of goods that are more expensive for women than men, make a note of the brand and product and simply don’t buy it.
  • Shop consignment and resale — you can make it work on both sides, actually. Bring the items you don’t need back in! Take something you don’t use or wear anymore, and trade it for something new.
  • Buy from small businesses whenever possible — yes, and especially from women owners. This way you’ll make a direct impact on the community (and probably, the world). 

The pink tax is another reason to gain financial literacy. Without understanding the basic principles of the economy, you won’t be able to follow the right path. While the smallest actions often feel like they don’t matter, it’s still worth acknowledging businesses praising gender equity.

The Period Product Industry

Inflation has a huge impact on feminine health; since women depend on hygienic products every month, they are primary subjects for gender-specific products. The experts even call this “the period of poverty”, marking inadequate access to menstrual products. 

On a more concrete level, women who experience period poverty are often unable to purchase period products. Usually, this refers to homeless people or lower-income individuals. Some studies reveal the shocking truth: about 50% of low-income women say they have to make a choice between buying food or menstrual products. 

Period poverty also highly affects women of color, especially, Black and Latina women; they are more likely to struggle to buy period products than white women. But even with this information in hand, 26 states continue to tax menstrual hygienic items as a luxury instead of medical necessities.

Key Takeaways

The record-high inflation and supply chain issues have a great impact on regular consumers. Price gouging and supply chain problems are disproportionately affecting women and people who menstruate 

Personal care products targeted at women are likely to be more expensive than similar products targeted at men. Since inflation affects consumer prices, it also impacts the so-called “pink tax”, which is a form of gender-based discrimination. Because of this pink tax, many women find themselves using a larger portion of their paychecks for personal care products. 

Some lawmakers are constantly trying to address the issue. One of the recent examples is the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021, proposed by congresswoman Grace Meng. Its main aim is to provide free-of-charge menstrual products to schools, incarcerated people, homeless people, and even to large companies and public federal buildings. 

As an alternative to using regular period products, women should consider sustainable items, which can be reused every month. It’s a positive decision toward reducing the amount of plastic and supporting the environment.

If the concept of reusable period products makes you uncomfortable, or if you’ve tried them and they aren’t for you, there are also disposable period products that are made more sustainably.