Tampon

THE PRICE OF WOMANHOOD

Martina Vercillo

“It’s a good time to be a woman”, says Helena Morrissey, emerging feminist book writer. But is it really – or at least economically?

In fact, one of the most discussed topics brought up by the feminist movement of nowadays is the disparity of men and women not just regarding social matters, but also in how their work is respectively rewarded (which we normally refer to as “gender pay gap”). And of course, this is just one side of the coin: as soon we think of ourselves as consumers, we discover that the situation is even worse.


Almost every country does not impose taxation on all products equally, thus, many goods considered essential by governments end up resulting affordable for the majority of buyers; obviously, the list of first necessity products differs from a nation to the other, but it generally includes food items, first aid supplies, condoms and even, in some cases, working tools. The problem is, one category is often missing out, and that is menstrual products, which still undergo high levels of taxation in too many areas of the world. This inacceptable form of carelessness towards female basic hygienical wellness has been underlined for some time now and has even a name: Tampon Tax – and concerns not just pads and tampons, but many kinds of equivalent goods, such as menstrual cups.


Another type of every-day economical discrimination weighs on women, even more subtle and, therefore, difficult to acknowledge: it is called “the pink tax”, although it does not represent a proper form of taxation. It basically consists in the commercialization of certain goods or services which are claimed to be designed specifically for women (and thus sold to a higher price), but actually as performing as men’s. Same product, same purpose, material and quality: the only difference is the phrase “for her”, which apparently justifies the cost discrepancy, and the packaging insisting on the stereotyped colours of pink and purple. This marketing strategy has been studied for some years now, and data show that, throughout their life, females pay 7% more on toys and accessories, 13% more on self-care goods (razor blades for instance) and up to 51% on deodorants!


It is understandable how those numbers may seem irrelevant in the long run, but these kinds of goods are so commonly used (and essential, in some cases) that they have a huge impact on their companies’ income and, of course, on the wallets of those who buy them. But people cannot decide to be born a boy or a girl, and this should not be reflected on what they purchase.