The money we spend on everyday hygiene products often goes unnoticed as they’re items we deem necessary to purchase. However, would you think twice about the products you’re buying if others were purchasing the same items for significantly less money?
This is common when comparing the prices of men and women’s hygiene products. Women are often paying higher prices for everyday products like razors, shaving cream, deodorant, hair products and body wash, a phenomenon known as the “pink tax”.
A Montreal woman is in the process of filing a class action lawsuit against companies that make these products and the retailers that sell them for their gender discriminating prices. Some of the companies named in the lawsuit include: Unilever Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart, Loblaws and Metro. The damages could potentially add to over $100 million. Read the full CBC story here.
A study by Parsehub, revealed that on average, women are paying 43% more for hygiene products than men do. The study looked at 3,191 personal care products from three major Canadian retailers and found this to be consistent among almost all products.
Add to this that men are also receiving more product per bottle of hygiene product or stick of deodorant than women receive yet they are still paying less. HealthSnap.cacompared prices of common men’s and women’s hygiene products, the amount of product per item and the price. For example, Men’s Speed Stick containing 70 g of product, costs $4.89 but Lady Speed Stick for 65 g of product costs $6.89.
I personally have resorted to buying razors marketed toward men instead of purchasing the pink bag from the same brand only feet away on the shelves because of the difference in price, but should women be forced to buy men’s deodorant, men’s body wash or men’s shampoo because spicy, musky scents cost less than the scents of fruits and hibiscus flowers?
Active users of popular social media platforms will have bore witness to the trending hashtag, #ShePersisted over the last few days. The hashtag is dubbed to be just the most recent feminist rally cry following an incident where Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced by a Republican majority Senate on Feb. 9.
Senator Warren read a letter written by Coretta Scott King during the confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, rebuked Warren’s statement and found her in violation of “Rule 19” which bars any senator from impugning the motives of any other or imputing “any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming of a senator,” according to an article in the Globe and Mail. You can watch the incident take place below.
While Senator Warren may well have been in violation of the decorum rule, it is difficult to deny that the GOP Majority Senate was being selective in who they were enforcing the rule upon as the Senate’s historian’s office was unable to say when the rule was last invoked. Even more troubling is that male senators were later reading from the same speech by Mrs. King without interference from opposing party members.
The incident begs the question: are female politicians respected in positions of power when they threaten the interests of the opposition? In this case, absolutely not.
If a male senator can read from Mrs. King’s letterwithout being in violation of “proper decorum”, but a female senator cannot, the issue becomes less about the content of the message and more about who it’s coming from. It also questions if the words of Mrs. King are taken more seriously when spoken by a man.
The silencing of Senator Warren has since resulted in an outpouring of Democratic support.
“She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” It’s doubtful that Senator McConnell would have imagined that it would be these eight words that would give rise to silenced voices everywhere and create an even stronger movement of even more persistent women.
Equal pay for equal work should hardly be a novel concept in North America in 2017 but the onslaught of sexism brought on by a presidential campaign and new administration have proven that the movement for equality has been at a standstill for longer than we’ve thought.
Audi USA has responded to gender inequality with the release of their Super Bowl LI commercial “Daughter”, showing their commitment to equal pay and to ending the gender wage gap. Watch the commercial Below.
The ad beautifully addresses the issue in a perfect platform where the audience is predominantly male, however as Mic points out in a tech article, the advertisement fails to address the even larger gender wage gap that exists for women of colour in North America.
After the release of the commercial, Audi tweeted “Women are still paid 21% less than men. As a brand that believes in progress, we are committed to equal pay for equal work. #DriveProgress.” While it’s noble for the company to acknowledge the wage gap and commit to equal pay, the statistic is not accurate to all groups of women as black women typically make only 65 cents of a man’s dollar and Hispanic women only 58 while white and Asian women are making on average 78 cents on the dollar, according to a Pew Research Centre study.
Intersectional feminism acknowledges inequalities faced across all races but realizes that these hurdles can bemore difficult to climb for some groups than others. The statistic that women make 21% less than men while unfair, ignores a huge demographic inequality that needs to be given the same importance and agency as the gap for white women is given.
The wage gap has long been a source of contention in North America with many suggesting it’s a lie and inaccurate when factoring in paid time off, weekly hours worked, annual bonuses and child care benefits. Companies like Audi making efforts to represent groups affected by inequality while simultaneously under-representing millions of people in its process shows how it is still a relevant movement that needs adjusting to further inclusion.