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Women sound alarm over ‘discriminatory pink tax’

By Maria Weldali - Jul 27,2021 - Last updated at Jul 27,2021

AMMAN — Jordanian women came together to discuss the “pink tax” and their ways of combatting it and saving money.

The “pink tax” is a term used to describe an upcharge on services and products marketed towards women, which takes a significant toll on women’s finances, said Maram Hussam, who works in the beauty industry.

“In my work we sell shampoos that are pricier than their male equivalents,” she said.

“Prices undoubtedly vary according to different brands but, let’s face it: Female personal care products are always more expensive, which is absolutely unfair,” Hussam stated. 

Women are usually paid less than men, but most products targeted towards females are more expensive. This leads to “a system of discriminatory pricing”, a group of women aged between 25 and 36 told The Jordan Times on Monday.

“It is very important to familiarise women with the pink tax, so that all together we can change the conventional way of looking at women, to be all about colour and fragrance,” the group said.

With the gender-based pay gap in Jordan and around the world, women face a financial burden when buying necessities or other products, they said. 

“Women’s products cost more than their male equivalents,” according to Wisam Mohammad, a mother of three, who added that she is always on the lookout for large discounts. 

“There is nothing different between the male and female versions of products. It’s only the fragrance, packaging and colour. So why charge women more money?” she asked.

Personal care services have the “pink tax”, Mohammed said. She noted that while the price differences may be barely seen, the cumulative effects cost women a lot on the long run. 

“Comparison shopping is what puts me in control of my finances,” Mervat, a Jordanian in her mid-40s who preferred to go by her first name, told The Jordan Times over the phone.

Mervat added that she always tries to buy local products to help save cash. She also advised women to change their shopping habits, especially during “the uncertain economic situation amid the pandemic”. 

The price of six disposable razors for women in one supermarket ranges from JD 4.19 to JD 4.35, while the price of 14 disposable male razors is only JD 3.75.

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