“Women are biologically better equipped than men to survive mortal hazards… Women are more empathetic and naturally thoughtful than men… Women are better born leaders than men… Men are better suited for success than women… Men are better drivers than women… Men in business outperform women…” It is rare for a day to pass without a new story on how one gender is superior over the other, in a way often unfounded to understand the logic behind the gender-divide theory. The need to demonstrate superiority as a psychological defensive mechanism that compensates the sense of either imposed or submissive inferiority in an attempt to prove that one gender is better than the other, has failed to understand that men and women are not the same, but equal in their human capacities and performing capabilities.
The gender-divide theory drilling even into the matters of consumer society has set the most fertile soil for the cultivation of the “gender tax”, which deepens the gender gap, instead of approximating the sexes to greater equivalents. Hence, the exploitation of gender stereotypes for pure profits of the production conglomerates has led to the creation of the “women tax” as another form of discrimination in the financial marketplace. Build on the stereotype that “women have lower financial discipline than men, which is a result of their greater proneness to emotional and compulsive buying comportment”, the differentiation between her and his expense for purchasing the very same essentials is at least illogical. Regardless of the fact that human histology makes little or no distinction between the genders, the price of a blue and a pink razor, deodorant, shampoo, perfume, body-care product and even food-supplement differs greatly. Although male and female hair grows at the same rate and their skin serves the same purposes, the genderization of goods extends to the genderization of services, where the hairdressing, cosmetic and even therapeutic treatments for men and women irrationally differ in price. Even though logic dictates the very opposite, women pay approximately 30% more than men for the same use, quality and quantity of goods and services, just because of the “women tax” imposed to them, which they are not even aware of.
On top of the exploitation of gender stereotypes for pure profits of production conglomerates, the application of the “segmentation appeal” given the understanding of consumer’s favourization and attachment towards a particular goods and services, supported by the “emotional appeal”. This appeal does not describe the product or service, but sells them on the premise of how prettier and better consumers could be after using them, is what comprises the “women tax” that is less of a marketing problem, but more of an educational one. The calculated $1.832.55 in average spent on women’s essentials and $691.52 in average spent on men’s essentials per year, as shown in the joint research by the beauty magazine “Glamour” and the news outlet “BuzzFeed”, clearly indicate that the genderization of what used to be unisex results in discrimination, disputing the attempts for equalization of the genders in regard to their rights as customers.
The woman tax may not be that tragic if, generally speaking, women would not represent 60% of the total low-wage labor force working full-time to earn 70 cents for every euro men make. They are then charged 30% more in order to look the way society expects them to look. Therefore, the earning gap is not the only factor hurting women’s bank accounts; the “women tax” that they pay to play a made-up role in the society they comprise is a major factor as well. The eyebrow-raising nonsense also known as the “pink tax”, which gets its name from the colour in which goods and services are mostly marketed to female customers, together with the “gender pay gap” have seemingly been around for decades, complementing each other and contributing to higher poverty rates among women.
Manufacturers and retailers may claim that the price difference is due to higher costs for producing women’s products or providing women’s services, but there is a great deal of evidence that shows significant price differences in identical products made of identical ingredients, but in different colour. The practice of charging customers different prices for the same product or service is known in economics as price discrimination. According to the Economic Committee on Consumers Affairs, 42% of the total goods and services at the marketplace are exposed to price discrimination against women, 18% of the total goods and services are a matter of price discrimination against men, while a share of 40% of total market supply is affordable at equal cost to the gender-indifferent demand. The evidence of 7% higher pricing on girl’s toys and accessories, 8% overpricing of women’s healthcare necessities, 12% greater costs on women’s clothing and even 15% overcharging for women’s personal care essentials makes it clear that the overall 42% of goods and services at the marketplace exposed to price discrimination against women are manifested in many different forms and ways. According to the financial research “Money Matters”, the indispensable character of the goods and services subjected to price discrimination against women, focusing on women’s healthcare and personal hygiene amenities, makes women almost three times more frequent customers and even a ten times poorer gender in comparison to their male compatriots, greatly suffering from unequal pay and price discrimination at the labor and market place.
Knowing that consumers have a big role in holding companies and retailers accountable, being a smart shopper is the best defense against the gender tax greatly affecting the financial power and saving opportunity of the sexes in a reality where price discrimination still falls under the legal framework of customers affairs in many capitalist societies.
The author of this opinion piece is our guest contributor MSc. Veronika Tomova
Avtorica tega prispevka je naša gostujoča kolumnistka MSc. Veronika Tomova.
About the author:
Veronika Tomova is Master of Science in the field of Comparative Local Development and Bachelor of Political Science with focus on International Relations and Diplomacy, holding expertise in the domain of political affairs, developmental models and societal systems.
Besides her other achievements, MSc. Tomova is a country representative to the Gender Equality Taskforce of the G20 Global Solutions Initiative, Golden Laissez Passer finalist, Shaper of the Global Shaper Skopje Hub of the World Economic Forum, Goodwill Ambassador for Empowerment of Women and Youth of the International Human Rights Commission, and Young Leader of the Presidential School of Leadership “Ivanov” and “Nizami Ganjavi” International Center.