Date
25 September 2017
French supermarket Monoprix sells a pink pack of five disposable razors intended for women for 1.80 euros while a blue packet of 10 identical items targeting male consumers costs 1.72 euros. Photo: Tumblr
French supermarket Monoprix sells a pink pack of five disposable razors intended for women for 1.80 euros while a blue packet of 10 identical items targeting male consumers costs 1.72 euros. Photo: Tumblr

Women’s rights group assails hidden ‘pink’ tax

At a supermarket in France, a pink pack of five disposable razors intended for women costs 1.80 euros (US$2.25) while a blue packet of 10 identical items targeting male consumers costs 1.72 euros.

The huge price discrepancy has prompted Pascale Boistard, the secretary of state for women’s rights, to tweet: “Is pink a luxury color?”

The anomaly was exposed by Georgette Sands, a women’s rights group, which launched an online petition against what it calls a hidden “pink” or “woman” tax.  The group (its name comes from 19th century French author George Sand, who used a male pseudonym in order to sell her novels) has so far gathered 30,000 signatures.

Responding to the petition, the country’s socialist government has ordered an inquiry into why female shoppers are paying more than their male counterparts for apparently identical products, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Monoprix, the supermarket that is selling the razors in question (its name, perhaps ironically, translates into “single price”), explained that “the larger sale, in volume, of men’s razors allows for a lower retail price”.

But it still doesn’t make sense, according to France24. “Women’s cosmetics are not cheaper than men’s, even though it is safe to say — without wishing to sound sexist — that women on average buy more of them,” the news television channel said.

The supermarket also said women’s razors are more expensive to produce, without saying why.

In fact, at another store, the group found a 200ml tube of shaving gel costs 2.87 euros for women and 2.39 euros for men.

“At Monoprix there’s no single price! In fact, for similar products, women are paying more than men,” the women’s group said. “The company takes advantage of the fact that women’s and men’s hygiene products are in different sections in order to apply different prices on products that are mostly similar, if not identical.”

When Georgette Sand asked women to submit examples of gender-based price discrimination on Tumblr, the page was flooded with pictures of products such as backpacks, pens and food.

“And let’s not forget,” the group said, “that women earn around 27 percent less than men and have pensions that are 42 percent lower than men’s.”

Indeed. Just because they are fond of shopping doesn’t mean they have to pay more.

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RA/CG

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