Female consumers are being charged a “pervasive” and “astronomical” tax simply because they are women, campaigners have warned.
Gender-based marketing (better known as the pink tax) is an “all-too-common tactic” used by businesses to exact greater profits from women, said a consumer advocate.
“Businesses use [the tactic] to get you to pay a price premium unnecessarily,” CHOICE spokesman Tom Godfrey told The New Daily.
Recent examples of potential profiteering have been exposed by activist group GetUp on its gender price gap website.
Basic items like female clothing, disposable razors, deodorants and even chocolate have been slapped with the tax, the group has found.
“There seems to be a mark-up there for women that is really pervasive and would be really quite astronomical,” said GetUp senior campaigner Kelsey Cooke.
“Now that we see this is a trend that applies across so many different parts of people’s lives, it’s likely to really add up in a lot of unexpected places.”
“It would be hard for this to be an accident or an incidental occurrence.”
Many of the taxes are ‘hidden’
Some examples of “very clearly gendered” products found by GetUp were obvious, such as identical shirts sold on the Bonds website for $59.95 for women and $49.95 for men.
Others were far subtler.
In a Melbourne supermarket, The New Daily discovered a type of Dove deodorant for men sold for $6.99, while its female equivalent was priced at $4.99.
No problem there, right? Wrong.
The male product was sold in a 150-gram spray bottle, whereas the female product was only available in 100 grams, resulting in a 33 cent difference per quantity.
“We’re finding that comparison isn’t easy to do,” Ms Cooke said.
“It’s something people will only really start to notice when they’ve got that filter on, when they’re looking for it.”
Other pink taxes discovered by GetUp can be found at the bottom of this article.
What can you do?
Consumers wanting to dob in gender price discrimination can contact GetUp here.
The activist group hopes its campaign will force companies to “change their ways”.
“I can see why industry groups wouldn’t want to it at this stage. I imagine it’s an awkward issue for them,” Ms Cooke said.
“But as we see more examples coming in, they will be less likely to be able to avoid that sort of pressure.”
In the meantime, be savvy when you shop, consumer group CHOICE has suggested.
“Regardless of a product’s colour or the pretty pictures on pack, the best solution is to read the ingredients, assess the features and purchase the best value option,” Mr Godfrey said.
“Consumers should look past the marketing and buy on price and quality.”
The Australian National Retail Association did not respond to a request for comment.