Have you ever asked yourself why you can get condoms for free but you're forced to pay an arm and a leg for a box of tampons? Really think about that for a second- you can walk into almost any health clinic and get condoms at no cost- but this is not applicable to menstrual products. At around $9 per box, the average Canadian woman spends $6000 in their lifetime JUST on menstrual hygiene products (CBC 2018). This sends a very alarming and incorrect message that having a menstrual cycle is a choice.
Unfortunately this is only the beginning….
For ages women have been and still are forced to pay a “Pink Tax”. What is the Pink tax? It's a system of discriminatory pricing on products and services that are based solely on gender. This means that you are paying a premium on women's clothes, everyday products, dry cleaning, oil changes and even children's toys just because you’re female.
According to the CBC, women in Canada pay a Pink Tax premium that's 40% higher than what men pay when it comes to personal care products. All while living in a country where women make 75 cents on average for every dollar that men make. This gap is even wider for women who are Indigenous, living with a disability, racialized or newcomers. Data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that Canada has the 8th highest gender pay gap out of a list of 43 countries.
So what does all of this mean for you- the female consumer? It means that when buying a new razor, you're faced with this:
You’re looking at a $7.32 difference for an identical product from the same brand sold through a large retailer within Canada. That’s a 148% increase just because of a pink package. Scary right?
So what can you do to help stop the Pink Tax?
There are a few things in your everyday life that you can do to help fight against these big companies with outdated and discriminatory views.
1. Alter your shopping habits.
Start buying men's products! Swap out your overpriced women's razor for an identical product that's more reasonably priced just because it's blue. You can also do this with deodorant, shampoo, lotion, soap and shaving cream. With fewer and fewer women giving into these sexist marketing strategies, companies will have no choice but to rethink how they are pricing their product on the shelves.
2. Keep yourself up to date on Pink Tax news.
Every day there are new and existing companies that are creating a fair, gender neutral way to shop. Supporting an inclusive company that "de-genders" its products will encourage that market to grow while also normalizing gender inclusive shopping experiences.
3. Support equality movements.
There are campaigns to end the Pink Tax and Period Poverty going on right now that can use your support. The Toronto youth cabinet launched an online petition this year for the province to fully fund menstrual products in all publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools.
The Canadian labor institute also fights for fair pay and brings awareness to a variety of equality issues.
Together we can make a difference and fight for equality! Share this article, have open conversations with people in your life about how they can help and never stop talking about what you believe in.