Are Women Taxed More Than Men For Being Female? – Alicia Loftus

Part of growing up is going through puberty and for females that includes getting your period. This is something women get naturally, some women don’t get their periods because of a medical reason. So if women get their period naturally, why should we be taxed on feminine products?

I believe that the government should give out free tampons to underfunded families and young girls/ women. This is what Scotland is doing. The Scottish government announced on 24th August 2018 that they have a plan to provide students, schools and universities free period products.

From my calculations, women will spend over €300 just on tampons. This doesn’t include painkillers, new underwear, new bed sheet, new trousers/jeans, hot water bottle, panty liners and birth control. All these factors will add a lot more to the cost.

The government has a tax named VAT; this stands for Value Added Tax. VAT is charged at different rates on products and services, the standard rate is 23%. Feminine products fit into this rate of tax. Along with other items that are not deemed a necessity. A lot of people say that feminine products are taxed as a luxury which is true yet false at the same time. Like I said before the government doesn’t have VAT on what they deem a necessity (bread, milk, tea) so in a way, they’re making a statement that everything else that is taxed with VAT is a luxury.

Another name for this is ‘pink tax’ – this is not anything actually pink or a tax, but it is a gender-based price that consumers face when purchasing products aimed towards girls or women. This name came by consumers who observed that products affected by this were pink. The problem is that over a lifetime the ‘pink tax’ can cost consumers, mainly females, thousands. A 2015 study by New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs entitled ‘From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer’ found that women’s products cost 7% more on average than items for men.

Men’s and women’s razors have a difference in price. I went onto the Boots pharmacy website and got the prices of some of the razors. A Gillette Venus & Olay Sugarberry razor is €14.50 and three refills are €15.99 (women’s product). A Gillette Skingaurd sensitive razor is €7.99 and a refill of three is €11.99 (men’s product). There is a €6.51 price difference between the razors, not including the refills. Other than the price difference there’s an obvious colour contrast but the effect of this on price is questionable. This points to the ‘pink tax’ that I mention in my last paragraph being projected on the razors commercialised to women.

With all the information that I have given, I think that I have shown women are taxed on feminine products and other products on the sole fact that they are women. There are no big differences between men and women for there to be the price gap that there is. There are countless reasons why this may be the case. There is no shock in saying women have been oppressed by society and men for centuries. Society has countless beauty standards for women, which have changed throughout the years. Women keep up with these beauty standards because this what has been told and expected from them, which makes them spend money on whatever it may be to achieve this. Since women already spend money, why not tax them more on goods geared towards them since the government already have a high tax on goods that are not ‘necessities’.?  Women need to stand up for themselves and demand equality in taxation and costing of feminine products.

Alicia Loftus



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