The ‘gender tax’ on everyday items

If you were paying more for similar everyday items than members of the opposite sex, would you be upset?

Well, according to research conducted by AMP, such products as shampoo, multivitamins, body wash and razors cost women more – for no good reason.

AMP has analysed the prices of a range of common products sold by supermarkets and other major retailers.

It was shocked.

The average price for women’s shampoo per 100ml was $2.70 and for men $2.42 – a difference of 11 per cent; for razors an average price of $12.66 compared with $9.50 for men – a 29 per cent difference; for multivitamins, $20 compared with $18.33 – a nine per cent difference; for body wash, $6.69 and $5.69 – a 16 per cent difference, and for underwear $12.57 and $11.09 – a 12 per cent difference.

AMP financial adviser Di Charman said the price differences would add up to a sizeable sum over a lifetime.

“Some people might disregard the price difference between [men’s and women’s] products because it’s only a couple of dollars, but when you look at the differences in percentages, some are quite alarming,” she said.

“When you use these items every day over a lifetime, it adds up, so don’t let your hard-earned dollars out of your hands easily.”

Ms Charman encouraged all women to take note of such price differences and query the reason with the retailer and the manufacturer. Such a campaign, she believed would have more impact than shopping around, buying in bulk or opting for similar men’s products.

To do a price comparison, make sure you check the unit pricing – the figures in smaller type that give the cost per millilitres or grams.

The practice of charging more for women’s products has been dubbed the ‘pink tax’.

Lobby group GetUp! says the pink tax is a systemic problem for women.

“A few cents or dollars here or there might not sound like much, but it adds up,” it says in a statement on its website. “Women in Australia already earn 18.8 per cent less than men, and when you factor in the gender price gap, we see that women are being paid less at work, and then paying more at the shops.

“Even though it’s systems like these that keep gender-based economic inequality going, this practice isn’t illegal; companies are free to use gender-based pricing to up their profits.

“It’s time we called out this practice for what it is: making women literally pay for gender stereotypes.”

GetUp! campaign director Emily Mulligan told News Ltd that women should not be punished for going about their work or their lives, and deserved equal opportunities and a level playing field.

“As consumers, we can have some say and we can let our dollars speak for themselves. We can use our spending power to influence products.”

Have you noticed the difference in prices between women’s and men’s products? Would you buy men’s products to save money? Would you complain to the manufacturers and retailers?

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Written by Janelle Ward

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