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How to avoid paying the pink tax on clothes, toys and other everyday items

But when unicorns and hearts make an item more expensive than one with dinosaurs or space ships, her mother draws a line.

“I started buying more gender-neutral colours for my children,” said Maharaj-Dube, who also has an eight-year-old son. “The black, the greys, the reds, orange and yellow—colours that are a bit more gender neutral (and) both my son and my daughter can use.”

Products marketed toward women and girls such as razors, shampoo and even children’s clothes can cost more than their equivalent for men or boys, a phenomenon that’s been dubbed the “pink tax.”

What is the “pink tax”?

“Pink tax was a term coined in the ’70s to describe the difference in pricing between men’s and women’s products,” said Calgary-based Janine Rogan, a chartered professional accountant and author of the book, The Pink Tax.

Disposable razors have been a representative example for years—the same product was priced higher when it came in pink.

Some of that discrepancy has improved in recent years. Along with companies adjusting their prices to become more equal, some jurisdictions around the world have eliminated actual taxes on necessary health products such as menstrual pads and tampons in a bid to level the playing field for those who use them.

However, corporations and marketers still find ways to raise prices for products aimed at women and girls such as shampoos and lotions, Rogan says.

Photo by The Canadian Press/HO-Amrita Maharaj-Dube
Amrita Maharaj-Dube, second left, is shown with her family, daughter Annapoorna, husband Vishal Dube, and son Aadhavan in this undated handout image from their home in Elmira, Ontario.

Pushing back against the pink tax in Canada

Maharaj-Dube says her daughter is often disappointed with her money-saving choices, so she’s turned to a solution that works for her bank account and keeps her child happy: thrifting.



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