Does pink tax affect gender equality in Singapore?

PHOTO: Pexels

Pink tax is a worldwide phenomenon that refers to a premium that women are expected to pay for specific services or products marketed toward them. These are often more expensive compared to similar products that are marketed for men.

This results in women paying more as they shop for goods and services such as toys from a young age, to fashion pieces, personal care or hygiene products we see today.

Why does pink tax occur?

PHOTO: Unsplash

According to Utpal Dholakia, a PHD holder, on Psychology Today, it likely comes from a value-based pricing perspective, or what pricing experts would call an “effective pricing strategy”. It assumes that a group, with an increased value on a specific item, will be more willing than others to pay for a product, even when its cost increases.

For pink tax, women are perceived to value certain products (such as related personal care, fashion or hygiene products) much more as compared to men. This results in many brands charging women a higher price for similar products.

Pink tax affects us in Singapore

PHOTO: Unsplash

Pink tax is more common than we realise.

According to The Straits Times, a study conducted back in 2018 on ten retailers and companies found that girls and women pay more for some products and services. These included services such as dry cleaning and products spanning from shaving gels to school uniforms and razors.

This was also emphasised in Straits Times political correspondent Yuen Sin’s article, quoting postgraduate Natalee Ho's experience with razors. Previously a buyer of pricier woman-specific razors, Natalee Ho switched to men’s razors when she realised it did its job equally well. This switch alone led her to save more than 35 per cent of her previous razor purchases, revealing the prevalences of Pink Tax in our sunny Singapore.

For women, that is not the fairest. In fact, this cost is largely unjustifiable due to its biases against women. However, some say that there are exceptions to this disparity in cost.

What are these exceptions?

1. Supply and demand

If a specific product is high in demand yet limited in stock, retailers will naturally increase its cost. Thus, if this product, which could be coincidentally marketed primarily to girls, happens to gain more traction than its similar counterpart, this increase in price will be of no surprise.

For example, if more people are interested in purchasing a pink scooter marketed to girls over a normal red scooter, this price increase is not a reflection of pink tax. Instead, it reflects a natural Supply and Demand cycle.

2. Quality of female products are better than male products

As seen from the experiment done by Spenser from As/Is Buzzfeed, the quality of some female products are better than men's products. These differences often are tailored to suit women’s preferences.

For example, women's facial products are often packed with moisture, aiming to refresh and revitalise one’s skin. This contrasts with many male facial products, which tend to be on the drier spectrum.

With these differences, perhaps the price difference between male and female products might be justifiable. Rather than a Pink Tax marketing war, it boils down to the quality of the product itself.

Credit cards specifically for ladies in Singapore

PHOTO: Unsplash

For those with regular general and luxury purchases: UOB Lady’s Card

PROMO: GET UP TO $218 CASH CREDIT

Apply Now 

Consider this if you frequently purchase luxury products or spend regularly from a wide variety of goods and services

For 10X UNI$ or 20 miles per $5 (4 miles per $1), UOB Lady’s Card allows you to earn UNI$ and rewards from seven unique categories of choice.

Spanning from entertainment, family, groceries categories and more, UOB Lady’s card is indeed the go-to for all who spends on a wider variety of goods and services. Even if you are charged higher for pink tax, the perks here will help you maximise it!

Moreover, UOB Lady's Card has a unique LuxePay Plan you can use to help you manage your luxury shopping purchases. With this programme, you can put your new luxury purchase(shoes or bags) worth $500 or more on a six or 12-month instalment plan that is absolutely free. This gives you the leeway to better manage your month-on-month cash flow and avoid the burden of a lump-sum payment.

Of course, looking at the part is only one aspect, but you also get rewards and birthday treats when you choose to sign up with them!

For those who frequently shop online: DBS Woman World Card

Get $150 cashback when you apply with promo code 150CASH

Apply Now

Consider this if you regularly shop online Read Review

  • Pros
    • 0 per cent interest payment plans available
    • Good rewards for online shopping
    • Online purchase protection
  • Cons
    • Lacks travel perks
    • Limited rewards categories

The best credit card for online shopping, earn up to 10X DBS Points, or 20 miles for every $5 spent (4 miles per $1) with the DBS Woman World Card for all online purchases.

Coupled with other perks such as complimentary e-commerce protection and 0 per cent Interest Payment Plans, you can have peace of mind whenever you want to purchase an item immediately online. This makes it the best online shopping card in our market at the moment, maximising the additional amounts we pay for pink tax

Also, it has a fee waiver with a minimum spend of $25,000/year! Make use of that if you choose to sign up for their card.

Celebrating women and gender equality

Looking at the price point, women's products ultimately are still more expensive than our male counterparts. Some of these costs are justifiable, due to the demand or quality of the product. Others are not so and may be still biased toward women.

As we celebrate women today, we are reminded of this need for gender equality. With both genders equally involved in building our community, inclusivity is crucial as we move forward as a society. One step forward is for stakeholders to review the pink tax if it is in place. That way, we can be one step closer to adopting fair prices for all.

This article was first published in ValueChampion.