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Store Stops Making Women Pay More Than Men For the Same Thing

Photograph by Twenty20

The devil is in the details, especially as details that apply to price tags on things like razors, deodorant and pens made just for women. It's hardly breaking news that products designed for "her" (read: pink) cost more than versions for "him" (read: blue), even if it's perennially head-scratching why women should have to pay more, especially considering they famously get paid less.

The good news is that the tide is slowly turning on the so-called pink tax. British supermarket chain Tesco was among a group of major retailers investigated in 2016 for charging more for women's toiletries than men's, particularly for specific products that were the same size, according to a newspaper investigation. The Independent concluded women generally pay 37 percent more than men for the same things, although Tesco was charging women twice as much than men for its own brand of razors.

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Tesco initially defended the discrepancy, attributing it to “the fact that male razors are produced and sold in significantly higher volumes, which reduces the price we pay for them.” Ultimately, though, they announced discussions with their suppliers resulted in them acting "on concerns about the differences in price of our male and female disposable twin-blade razors” and evening out the price difference.

... Tesco is moving towards a little more equality with its razor pricing ...

It's not just the "feminine" versions of products that have many campaigning for more equality, either. Last fall, the California Senate Appropriations Committee approved a pair of bills exempting diapers and tampons from state sales tax. The Los Angeles Times reported the bills' authors as saying "medically necessary" items shouldn't be subject to additional charges. Other states, including New York and Florida, have also moved towards eliminating taxes on feminine hygiene products. There, lawmakers and advocates argue that if items such as lip balm and dandruff shampoo are excluded from the tariff because they're considered so fundamental for good health, then so should tampons, sanitary napkins and diapers.

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Following the Independent's findings last year, Britain's four major supermarket chains were asked to review their policy on pricing and consider developing "more 'gender neutral' options in toiletries," according to the newspaper. To be fair, the findings also revealed that in some instances, male products were actually pricier than the female equivalent, especially skin care items.

Still, staunch opponents of the tampon tax have expressed gratitude that at least Tesco is moving towards a little more equality with its razor pricing, with the Independent quoting one advocates as saying, “Really pleased with this result. Chipping away at gender pricing bit by bit. Watch out retailers—I’m coming for you!”

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