I was purchasing T-Shirts for a team celebration recently and was intrigued to find that female T-shirts cost $10 or 25% more than a male T-shirt at $8. The reason I was given by our vendor (something about volumes usually purchased) wasn’t convincing . I realized I was seeing the “Pink Tax” in action.
I recently came across a fascinating 2015 paper by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs about the cost of being a female consumer. In the 397 retail products compared, women paid more 42% of the time while men only did so 18% of the time.
For example, girls’ toys cost more 55% of the time versus 8% of the time for boys. Girl’s clothing costs more 26% of the time versus 7% for boys. Women’s personal care products cost more 56% of the time versus 13% for men. And so on. This is nuts.
These costs add up over time and have powerful implications on women’s ability to save for retirement – to the tune of a million dollars over the course of a lifetime. Thanks to taxes, a penny saved is worth a lot more than a penny earned.
So, while it is great to see all the efforts going into achieving pay gap equality, we’ll need to pay as much attention to the pink tax. Improving the top line without paying attention to the bottom line is the definition of counter productive.
Atrocities happen every day of the week on this planet. This was one of those that had me swearing out loud. A man felt it went against his family’s honor for his pregnant daughter to marry someone against his wishes but felt it was perfectly okay to murder her with his son and a few goons.
There is a lot wrong with the world. There is no doubt about that. There is a lot right too that goes unmentioned. It feels, as a result, that we have two principal duties to help make the world better. Focus on the right in our lives and do more of it. This is the only way to keep our spirits up without getting bogged down by everything that is wrong with the world.
At the same time, we must work hard on changing what is wrong. A lot of what is wrong with our attitude towards other races and women can be made much better. It starts within. We have to pledge to be open to differences ourselves and hopefully change the culture of our families and friends to reflect that. Change occurs in ripples. It begins with changing ourselves or, at the very least, teaching ourselves to think. There is a real dearth of people who can do that. Atrocities like the one above are typically committed by men (yes, it is always men) who are unthinkingly following some norm or order.
The world will never be perfect but it can become better, much better. In making ourselves better, we make it a bit better and I think that’s as worthwhile a cause as any.