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Senior Capstone 2021

Is income a source of freedom or oppression? A discussion of The Pink Tax

Abstract Women pay an extra amount as consumers for goods and services that are equal or nearly identical to comparable men’s products. This form of exploitation is commonly referred to as ‘The Pink Tax’. Due to marketing gimmicks that put gender labels on certain products and services, such as the “BIC for Her Pens”, a “tax” is imposed on women, in the form of a higher cost, which, in essence, they are forced to pay to have a gendered version of a product. Through an evaluation of the pink tax, the discussion in this paper will focus on the theme of gender representation in the labour force as a means of fostering existing gender expectations. Economic gender discrimination persists in a society due to the entrenched acceptance of cultural norms related to gender expectations. The media promotes cultural standards and markets them directly to women. The colour pink itself has been stereotyped and has been made a symbol of femininity by the advertising corporations. To dissect the cause of the pink tax throughout history, process tracing will be used. Specific case studies will represent the vast effects of this form of gender-based price discrimination not only on the basic feminine hygiene products and pink-coloured products but on the most general goods such as clothing items, children’s toys, and health care products. This research will aim to provide awareness of an implicit tax related to purchasing female-gendered products.

Tejasvee Satwani is a fourth-year student at Northeastern majoring in combined economics & mathematics and minoring in film production. His interest is in labor economics as well as poverty alleviation. After graduation, he aspires to work for a thinktank, or an NGO dedicated to economic research.