We’ve heard quite a bit about the gendered wage gap, thanks to a report which claims Canada’s gap is remaining constant. The reasons for this are well known, and for what it’s worth I’ve helped promote the research.
But this forms the “one” in a one-two punch aimed at women.
The new law forbids merchants to post prices that distinguish between male and female customers. Existing laws require that retail establishments post all prices for general, basic services.
Its backers called the law a milestone that would, at the very least, begin to erode a tradition of women automatically — and inexplicably — paying more for certain services.
”It was an injustice what was being done to women,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, a Democrat from Queens. Ms. Koslowitz helped coordinate a 1996 survey of 200 randomly selected hair salons in New York City that found that 48.5 percent of them charged women more than men for a basic cut.
Not only do women earn less in the workforce, they’re frequently charged more. This isn’t a new problem, either, I was quoting from a 1998 news article.
Many more studies have been conducted, and found a “woman’s tax” for quite a few consumer goods; a 2010 Consumer Reports study found that women paid more for shaving cream, antiperspirant, razor blades, body wash, and even pain relief. A 2015 study from New York Consumer Affairs found girl’s bicycles, helmets, and shirts cost more than identical products aimed at boys. A 2016 study from ParseHub that looked nearly 3,200 products found that Canadian women paid 43% more for personal care products. These differences extend all the way into automobile repair, health insurance, and even trade tariffs.
This “pink tax” adds up; California’s 1996 study, referenced in that 1998 article, estimated that each woman pays roughly $1,300 extra every year thanks to this tax. ParseHub estimated that just for personal care products, Canadian women paid roughly $200 extra every year.
Thankfully, the pink tax is much easier to defeat than the gendered wage gap. Buy unisex or men’s products, instead of women’s. Pass laws that make discriminatory pricing illegal. Raise a red flag over gendered pricing, asking hard questions and doing other activism to help bring about change.