Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Pink Tax: What's all this about a colored tax?

Trigger warning: If normal bodily functions and fluids gross you out, then this isn't the place for you. Go back to 1860.
If you hadn't heard, New York recently repealed sales taxes on feminine hygiene products. As a menstruator, I'm ecstatic for them and this is why. Women use pads and tampons so we don't bleed onto all of our clothes and sheets. It's as simple as that. They're essentially band-aids.

From a strictly mathematical point of view, women generally menstruate for four days a month, for about 25 years of their life. On average, if every woman uses four pads or tampons a day, that's about 5,000 feminine hygiene products used per woman in their lifetime, including extra for nights/days of heavy flow.

The sales tax in India stands at about 14.5% right now, that's anything between 4,800-6,100 extra rupees a woman has to dish out on pads and tampons every year. That's around Rs. 1.25 lakhs in a lifetime. This is all exclusive of the hundreds of panty liners we go through on other days.

Now, the pink tax is the extra amount women are subjected to pay for services. This applies to clothes, personal care products, and yes, that also includes the 'tampon tax'.

Let me elucidate.

A trip to the grocery store- Two deodorants from the same brand and the same line. One is marketed for men, the other at women. Their prices are 199 and 225 rupees respectively.

Buying a razor. For men, the handle comes with four blades, ₹60. For women, a pink handle, along with two blades, ₹49. Both the razors are the same brand and the most basic kind available.

If a woman goes to get her hair cut, she's set back at least ₹1000, more if she gets her hair washed and set. As a guy, ₹100 will get you the same haircut, no matter how long your hair is.

₹1500 swimsuits and bikinis, as opposed to ₹300, swim trunks. On an average, women's clothing cost a whopping 8% more than men's clothing, irrespective of age. If you, a woman, are spending ₹5000 on a jacket, then you, a man, will be able to buy not only the same jacket "for men" but also a ₹400 shirt.

And what's worse is that less than 50% of the population is subject to this pink tax, and most don't even realize it.

Which brings me to an even bigger issue. Not only are women paying extra for basically the same stuff, women are also making lesser money than men, specifically 40% lesser, and are less likely to be employed in the first place. In a poll, 7 out of 10 companies have stated that they are more likely to hire a male candidate over a female applicant for an open position even if she is more qualified because women are considered bigger liabilities to the firm. Nobody wants to “risk a sexual harassment lawsuit” and all the extra baggage that, apparently, being a woman entails.

All I have to ask of you is, do you think this is fair?

Written by Jyotsna Shiv Kumar
Eater of the cupcakes. Art nerd., reeeally liker of psychological horror novels. Your friendly neighborhood tumblr expert.

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