In a bid to end gender discrimination, the British retailer Tesco vowed to sell women’s razors at the same price as men’s. Experts explained there is no difference between the two products except for the pink color.
The move comes in the wake of a study which found that women usually pay more for the same products just because they are women. Earlier last year, the New York Times found that women pay on average 37% more than men just because their items are gender-targeted. Times investigators found price discrepancies in various types of products from toys to personal care products. And razors are no exception.
At Tesco, a pack of women’s twin-blade razors sold for $1.23, while the same product but destined for men sold for half the price. The drug retailer Boots had similar price issues: a set of eight disposable women’s razors cost 2.81 while a set of 10 men’s razors cost 1.83. The difference in pricing stirred a social media maelstrom and 44,851 people joined an online petition to halt the practice. In response, Boots matched prices.
Tesco replied to recent criticism that the difference is pricing is not gender-based. In a letter sent to the media, the retailer explained that disposable men’s razors sell in higher volumes, which makes them cheaper.
Tesco also said that after an internal review and a discussion with suppliers it found the current pricing for men and women products is not consistent with the store’s commitment to providing affordable products. As a result, Tesco aligned the price per unit for both products. However, the move did not raise the price of men’s razors. Both types of razors now cost 10 cents per unit. The general merchandise retailer added that it would focus more on consistently affordable products than on short-lived promotions.
The U.K. labor department official Paula Sherriff has scored two successful victories in her crusade to make sanitary products more affordable. Last year, she convinced the pharmacy chain Boots to install donation boxes where consumers can leave sanitary products for disadvantaged people.
Sherriff also convinced the British government to scrap a 5% tax on sanitary products aka the tampoon tax imposed by the European Union. British lawmakers sided with Sherriff after she gained enough eurosceptic support ahead of the Brexit vote.
Experts have a name for the discrepancy seen in the prices of women’s products: “the pink tax”.
In 2015, the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs analyzed over 800 products marketed at women and men. The department’s experts learned that the pink tax does not only affect razor’s. It applies to various other products including clothing, shampoos, and baby clothes. Researchers found baby clothes and toys for girls can cost up to 13 percent and 12 percent more respectively. And the only difference was the color.
Shampoo products marketed to women can cost up to 48 percent more than those for men even though ingredients are largely the same. The report showed that personal care products for female customers can be up to 56 percent more expensive than those for male customers.
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