Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student


Being a woman shouldn't cost more

The finance ministry in France has made a decision to investigate the “pink” tax, or why women pay more money for practically identical products. This investigation was kick-started after a petition was circulated that garnered 30,000 signatures.

The United States should take a look at France’s move toward pricing equality and follow suit.

A French women’s group called Georgette Sand exposed price inequality with a Tumblr showing a series of male and female products side by side. Those with the illustrious pink color were priced more.

Products ranging from deodorants to rubber gloves to backpacks are all being priced higher for no discernible reason other than the shift in consumer from male to female. This prompted the French Secretary of State of Women’s Rights Pascale Boistard to tweet, “Is Pink a luxury color?”

In France, women, on average, earn 14.8 percent less than men in the same job, according to a CNBC report earlier this year. Then, tacked on to this inequality, they have to pay more at the drugstore for identical products.

Economic equality is hitting French women from all sides, and it would almost be surprising, except that the U.S. has been slowly and ineffectually combating this same problem for years.

In 1996, California found gendered pricing was costing women $1,351 extra a year and banned it. In 2010, Consumer Reports asked different companies why products were marked higher when marketed toward women. They came up with a bunch of easily disproved reasons, such as a difference in formula, despite the same ingredient percentages being readily available on the back of each product.

One shaving cream company said the price hikes were because women had inadvertently shown preference for features that cost more, such as cans that were tall and thin instead of short and fat. How they decided that women prefer this, and why this would cost more, is still unclear.

Women haven’t asked for these taxes, just like women don’t get paid less because they don’t work as hard. Women get paid less and then are forced to spend more on products that society tells them they need.

It’s just institutional inequality at work again, and it’s about time people start getting called out for it. France’s investigation and California’s ban are good starts, and hopefully, one day we can take it all the way.

As for now, in response to Boistard’s tweet, pink continues to be more of a burden than anything else.

Get stories like this in your inbox