EDITORIAL: ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, and pink tax

Dec 17, 2021 | Editorial, OP-ED

While people are preparing their wallets for a bunch of holiday shopping this year, there is still the elephant in the room: the pink tax.

The pink tax is a financial phenomenon where products labelled as women’s products cost more than men’s products, regardless of whether they are of equal or greater quality from each other.

According to a Listening Money Matters article on the pink tax, women on average are paying about 42 to 43 per cent more on their products than their male peers.

It doesn’t even matter if it’s a woman or just someone using women’s products. If an individual is using them, then they’re paying extra.

Some products that commonly fall under the pink tax are hair care products, deodorants and antiperspirants, shaving creams and lotions, as well as soaps and body washes.

And of course, the most common product of them all is razor blades.

According to a Parsehub article about personal care products in Canada, women would have to pay $8.63 for razors blades while men would only need to pay $5.30 for those same razors.

Though it seems the only reason that Gilette Venus’s blades are more expensive than their normal disposable razors or even their “men’s” razors, for example, is because of their SmoothGel technology, guaranteeing a smoother shave.

There also is of course the concern of feminine hygiene products falling under the “tampon tax.”

The tampon tax is a sub-category of the pink tax where feminine hygiene products are costing extra, like other “women’s products.”

This of course is completely unfair for women here, since there is no male equivalent. The federal government removed the GST on feminine hygiene products in 2015, 11 years after Kenya, the first country to eliminate taxing the products. Ontario, however, continues to apply a seven per cent sales tax.

The Office of Women’s Health in Canada explains the woman’s menstrual cycle usually lasts for 28 days, but this doesn’t always apply to all women. They also make it clear that women need to change their pads, tampons, diva cups, or whatever they use, every few hours.

So, why exactly are women paying so much money, including a tax, for a product that’s basically a necessity to them, like food or water? The tampon tax is gender-based discrimination.

There even was an online petition made to protest this tax called “No Tax on Tampons.” Today, organizations like Free the Tampons have many members, looking to fight for this cause.

So, does the pink tax still have a negative impact on how people — especially women — are spending money on the products they need? Or, even yet, why not just let women use men’s products instead, because they’re cheaper?

Well, those are not easy questions to answer.

In a 2018 article from the Canadian Labour Institute, a few women make the argument that some women still might like the fragrances and aesthetic that can be attained from “women’s products”. Other that, it limits a woman’s options in what she likes and wants in her products.

So then, what now?

Well, another organization called GirlTalkHQ helps to test the acceptance of this gender-price discrimination for so-called women’s products. We definitely need more organizations like this, in order to fight for the freedom of women and others in financial struggles, because of the pink tax.

But there is still a long way to go for everyone to be able to get all of the products they need and want, without worrying about paying extra just cause the products are coloured pink.