5min readCulture 23 April 2019
By the time a woman turns 30, she's been robbed of $40,562 just for being a woman. Every year, a woman spends approximately $1,351 more than a man for simple products including t-shirts, personal care items, and services because of inflated pricing, known as the Pink Tax. It's egregious!
The Pink Tax first came to my attention just last year, and I was beyond astonished to hear that this “buried tax" exists. The Pink Tax is yet another daily hurdle for women that prevents them from gaining control of their money and more importantly, their life.
Once I knew about the Pink Tax, I immediately wanted to educate myself on the topic because it didn't make sense that women pay more for products targeted to women and make less money than men on top of it. (In 2017, women earned 82% of what men earned according to a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers in the United States.)
In my research, I learned that the Pink Tax starts showing up early in life with baby bottles and pacifiers and continues through adulthood with dry-cleaning and many personal care products like shampoos, conditioners, and deodorants. It even applies to senior healthcare products. I thought, why should a pink cane marketed to women cost more than a different colored one sold to men?
I was outraged but inspired to do something. I started by telling friends just to see their reactions and gauge awareness around the Pink Tax. They shared my astonishment and were horrified how this could be going on right under our noses.
This also became a time to reflect on my own successes and challenges in my professional career. I've had many successes fueled by my passion, determination, and ability. However, I've also faced many challenges head-on because of roadblocks in my way, often specifically because I am a woman.
Let it be known I have never been put off by being “the only woman in the room" because I've always seen myself as a skilled professional rather than a person defined by gender. However, along the way, there have been many misperceptions about me, including my ambitions and aspirations, just because I am a woman.
I am a fervent believer in equality. Period. It is a strong belief of mine that society suffers when one group is disadvantaged because of being labeled or treated as “less than." The Pink Tax impacts each and every woman in the U.S., forcing us to pay more for basic necessities, for the mere fact of being a woman. It's time to raise awareness about this type of inequality that women unknowingly face every day. European Wax Center decided to take the lead because we believe that with awareness comes the ability to make educated decisions and purchases.
As a woman-centric brand, we wanted to give our voices to issues that matter. On April 2, 2018, we set out to raise mass awareness and education about this issue, inspire women to make more empowered purchasing decisions and to advocate for equal prices for equal products. We exist to help women feel unapologetically confident, and we want all women to feel they can be confident not only in their own skin but also in demanding a leveled playing field.
Courtesy of Mic media1.giphy.com
By further educating ourselves, we discovered women pay more than men 47 percent of the time for the same products and services.
This can be seen in the results of a study by the New York Department of Consumer Affairs “From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer," that compared nearly 800 products from more than 90 brands. This study found a striking price difference in items marketed to women. To start, female-branded deodorants and razors cost more 56 percent of the time, and on average, women pay 7 percent extra for everyday products and services. For example, women pay an average of $2.71 more than men on shampoo.
One of the pervasive aspects of the Pink Tax is that it's not easy to find out about the price differences unless you're looking for it. The onus is on the consumer, which is disconcerting because if you don't know about the Pink Tax, you don't know to look for it. Here are a few more facts that demonstrate how the Pink Tax impacts our lives from birth through adulthood:
Girls' toys cost more 55 percent of the time, while boys' toys cost more only 8 percent of the time. On average, the largest price discrepancy was in helmets and knee/elbow pads, with girls' versions priced 13 percent higher.
Girls' clothing cost more 26 percent of the time, while boys' clothing cost more 7 percent of the time. Girls' items cost more in seven of nine clothing product categories.
Women's clothing cost more 40 percent of the time, while men's clothing cost more 32 percent of the time. The clothing product category that had the largest price difference by percent was women's shirts, which cost 15 percent more on average than men's shirts.
Senior/Home healthcare products cost more for women 45 percent of the time and cost more for men 13 percent of the time. For example, women's braces, on average, cost 15 percent more than men's.
One of the best ways for us to help others understand this issue was to lean heavily on social media where others are sharing their own surprise, outrage, and gratitude for learning about the Pink Tax.
We also wanted to do our part in helping to level the playing field for women. As a brand that was doing so well, it was a moment to also do good for others. We joined forces with the Fashion Institute of Technology, Girls In Tech and Beauty Changes Lives to support women in realizing their dreams and to give them as much advantage as possible along the way.
I encourage everyone to use their knowledge of unfair gender pricing to help avoid the Pink Tax, but in many instances, that is easier said than done. There is value and hope in a consumer movement, that includes both men and women, who through their voices and actions show others that the road to long-term profitability and loyalty is through gender-neutral pricing.
5 Min Read
Elizabeth Warren majorly called out "arrogant billionaire" Michael Bloomberg for his history of silencing women through NDAs and closed-door settlement negotiations. Sound familiar? Probably because we already have a president like that. At this point, Bloomberg may just spend the remainder of his (hopefully) ill-fated presidential campaign roasting on a spit over a fire sparked by the righteous anger of women. A lesser punishment than he deserves, if you ask me.
At last night's Democratic debate, Michael Bloomberg could barely stammer out an answer to a question on whether or not he would release any of his former accusers from their nondisclosure agreements. His unsatisfactory response was basically a halting list of what he has done for certain nondescript women in his time at City Hall and within his own company.
But that certainly wasn't enough for Elizabeth Warren, nor should it be, who perfectly rephrased his defense as, "I've been nice to some women." Michael Bloomberg is basically that weird, problematic Uncle that claims he can't be racist, "Because I have a Black friend." In a society where power is almost always in the hands of straight, white, cisgendered, men being "nice" to a lucky few is in no way a defense for benefiting from and building upon the systematic silencing of all marginalized communities, let alone women. Stop and frisk, anybody?
Here is a brief clip of the Warren v. Bloomberg exchange, which I highly recommend. It is absolutely (and hilariously) savage.
But let's talk about the deeper issues at hand here (other than Warren being an eloquent badass).
Michael Bloomberg has been sued multiple times, yet each time he was able to snake his way out of the problem with the help of his greatest and only superpower: cold, hard cash. Each time these allegations have come up, in Warren's words, he throws "a chunk of money at the table" and "forces the woman to wear a muzzle for the rest of her life."
As reported by Claire Lampen of The Cut, here are just a few of his prior indiscretions.
- Pregnancy discrimination—Bloomberg reportedly told a former employee of his to "kill it," in reference to her developing fetus.
- Sexual harassment—You could literally write a book on this subject (someone did), but for the sake of brevity...
"I'd like to do that piece of meat" - Michael Bloomberg in reference to various women at his company.
- Undermining #MeToo—Not only did he defend the accused, but he went on the disparage accusers every step of the way.
- Defaming transgender people—Though he claims to support trans rights, he has also been qupted multiple times as referring to trans women as "some guy wearing a dress."
Yeah... That's not a winning formula for me, Mike.
Furthermore, Warren points out the simple fact that if, as Bloomberg claims, these instances were simply big misunderstandings (He was just joking around!) then why go to all the trouble to cover them up? Does Michael Bloomberg think women can't take a joke? Or can we only surmise that the truth of these events are far darker and dirtier than we could even imagine?
Certain commentators have called Elizabeth Warren's debate presence "agressive," especially in regards to this instance but also continually throughout her entire campaign. If asking poignant questions to known abusers who are seeking to further their own political power is considered "aggressive," then I am here for it. Bring on the aggressive women, please and thank you.
Calling a woman aggressive for being confidant and direct is a gendered complaint. You don't see anyone whining that Bernie is "aggressive" when he goes off on a screaming tangent. Also, have you seen our president? He's basically the poster boy for political temper tantrums. But still, it's Warren that is deemed "aggressive," for honing in on the exact issues that need to be considered in this upcoming election.
This type of derisory label is another aspect of how our society silences women—much like Bloomberg and his NDAs. Because "silencing" is more than just putting a "muzzle" on someone. It's refusing to listen to a person's cries for help. It's disregarding what a woman has to say, because she's too "aggressive." It's taking away someone's power by refusing to truly hear their side of the story. Because if you aren't listening, responding, or even just respecting someone's words, they may well have said nothing at all.
"Silence is the ocean of the unsaid, the unspeakable, the repressed, the erased, the unheard." - Renecca Solnit
Nondiscolusure agreements are a legal gag for people who have experienced harassment and abuse at the hands of those above them.
Gretchen Carlson, possibly the most famous person subject to an NDA, is one of these people. Her story is so well-known that it has even been immortalized on film, in 2019's Bombshell. Yet she is still forced to maintain her silence. She cannot tell her side of the story even when Hollywood can. She was cajoled into her current position after facing harassment in her workplace. She didn't have the power then to do more than accept her fate. And now, she doesn't have the power to tell her story.
She was, and still is being, silenced.
After her experiences, Carlson was moved to fight for all women to have the power over their truths. In a recent op-ed for the New York Times she declared: "I want my voice back. I want it back for me, and for all those silenced by forced arbitration and NDAs."
Carlson may still be tied to her NDA, but there are those who go a different route. Celeste Headlee, who wrote an op-ed on SWAAY about her experience, chose to break her nondisclosure agreement. Though doing so undoubtedly opened her up to numerous legal ramifications, she knew that she could no longer "sign away [her] right to justice."
Because that is what an NDA is all about, signing away a person's right to justice. Their story is their justice. Their NDA is a lock and key. Headlee may have broken through that lock, but she must face the consequences.
Neither Carlson nor Headlee are any less brave for how they have handled their journeys. They are both actively working to shift the cultural and political norms that led them here, and their work will, with hope and time, lead to real change. But they are just two drops in an ocean of women who are held hostage by their nondisclosure agreements, by men like Michael Bloomberg, and by a society that would rather silence them than let truth and justice be had.