‘Pink tax’, which is also known as gender-based pricing, has become a hot topic of debate in recent years. Although it is not actually a form of tax, women are outraged by having to pay more than men for items such as razor blades, deodorant and even clothing.
But why are ‘female’ items, that bursts with colourful shades of pink and purple more expensive than ‘masculine’ products, that are typically blue or black? Why is the price tag on fragrances that are fruity and sweet higher-priced than those rustic, musky scents?
Psychology Today offers one viewpoint based on the argument of pricing experts, who explains that pink tax on personal-care products makes “perfect economic sense” because men and women differ according to how much value they place on these products. They refer to this as “value-based pricing” and “price discrimination”, which becomes the foundation for an effective pricing strategy.
It is observed that because women have a willingness to pay more, they ought to be charged a higher price, Psychology Today adds. These price differences therefore become justified by, what Psychology Today says experts call, “superficial product variations”.
An example of this relates to women’s razor blades, that may be pink, as opposed to blue razor blades that are ‘conventionally’ associated with men. In both of these instances, the packaging will be different. The argument then is that by making these products more appealing to women, the price will undoubtedly be higher. These experts also argue that women who refuse to pay the higher price can opt for the cheaper male version, which they call “gender-based versioning.”
The Head of Advice Processes at Sanlam, Danelle van Heerde describes the #Axethepinktax movement in an article, which had gained global traction as more women are refusing to pay more merely because they are women.
“To drastically oversimplify the situation, women are generally earning less and paying more,” Van Heerde explains.
City Press, echoes this sentiment by referring to the Code for Africa, which is a gender pay-gap tool based on the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Report where it was found that South African men earn around R6 607.25 more than women monthly.
“Now add to this the fact that women generally have to pay more than men for basic monthly necessities and one begins to perceive the full spectrum of challenges to women achieving financial independence,” Van Heerde adds.