Many of Mzansi’s women have noticed the extra cost of many items that are specifically branded for females and have opted to buy rather the male-only equivalent – whether these items are soaps, shampoos, disposable razors, shirts and other items including toys for children.

But should we do more to end this unfair pricing? Did you know that you could be paying more for certain products just because you’re a woman?

British newspaper, The Guardian, said that men and women enter stores as equals but gender marketing causes different totals at the till.
A study also found that the advertising industry has us convinced that men and women require completely different products and women end up paying more for basically the same products. There’s even a phrase for this retail sexism: Pink Tax!

According to Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, these so called “women’s items” come with a lot more trimmings and can therefore be a lot more pricey. But these “trimmings” mostly refer to the gender-specific packaging we’ve become so used to.

Smethers also explained that adding extra stuff and filler to how female-marketed goods are presented has been going on for so long that it has become standardised and as expected by people as “blue is for boys and pink is for girls”, generation after generation.

But it’s not just packaging. Women are generally paying more for everything from a haircut to dry cleaning and basic bathroom items. And it begins with something as simple as shaving. Writer Matty Maihva, in her article Is it more expensive to be a woman?, found that a four-pack of women-branded Gillette Simply Venus disposable razors for women cost almost R2,35 more than a 10-pack of the male version, Gillette Blue.

In another case a five-pack of single-blade Bic razors for women cost R12,03 more than the exact same five-pack of single-blade Bic razors for men! In another example, US newspaper The Washington Post, featured a rather suggestive ad selling two kids’ scooters.

The one for boys described as “scooter sport” cost R395,49 while the one for girls, a “scooter sparkle” cost R791,13 – even though they were exactly the same with identical features and were only packaged differently.

When we look at the world of fashion, the Market Watch study showed that, on average, women pay up to 8% more for clothing compared to men – particularly when it comes to jeans and shirts. Women’s jeans and shirts are 10% and 15% more expensive than that of their male counterparts.

Is the solution to start buying male-marketed razors, toys and clothing? While that’s a solution many women have chosen, should society rather try to fight against this pink tax discrimination? –