So does the “pink tax” really exist? According to an SBS article, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency calculates the national gender pay gap at 18.8 per cent. In addition to this economic disparity, many products targeted towards women are more expensive than their male or generic equivalents.
“We see it in personal care products,” said Kate Browne from Choice. “There’s a marked price difference. When you get to moisturisers, the difference is astronomical.”
“Because of the way we’ve been programmed since birth, you’re often inclined to choose the product designed to speak to you without really looking at the price.”
A recent example which drew much negative press was the release of a Kinder Surprise egg in pink packaging, which was 11 cents more expensive.
A 2011 study from the Gender Issues Journal found other examples for services such as haircuts and drycleaning, and that women are more likely to be overcharged for vehicle-based goods and services on the presumption of female ignorance in that market.
This inspired Kylie Jacobs, who runs a mechanic business with her husband in Adelaide, to launch the websitefemalefriendly.com.au. It now is a national service that lists businesses near the user which have been recommended by other women.
“What started out as a way of making our family business more accessible to women soon turned into a national directory listing businesses that serve women well,” Ms Jacobs said.
Browne said that consumer vigilance is the best way to combat the pink tax. “Look beyond the clever marketing that’s designed to appeal to you. Have a look at the other side of the aisle.”
There have been experiments and tests on platforms like Buzzfeed who have trialed out men’s products to compare the pricing on how much women spend compare to men.