• The Lake News Magazine

The Unspoken Finances of Being A Woman- The Looming Presence of Economic Inequality

In this day and age, young girls are told that they can master any art and become whatever their heart desires–which is ultimately true due to women obtaining more rights. However, the eradication of gender-based discrimination is still far from over. There is a pink tax that hangs above every price tag. This tax has been referred to as gender-pricing, relating to the pink color that many feminine products have been affixed to. Most women go every day without knowing that they too are a victim of pink tax—that they are being charged extra simply because of their sex.

Although William Huff hasn’t personally encountered the gender pay/pink tax, he is still informed on the subject. He is a sophomore at Pomona Highschool, and has experiences with how women happen to do things differently, compared to how men might.

“My experience with women has been that it takes a lot more elaborate products to get themselves ready, and if that is the case, then companies will try and profit off that” said Huff.

Recently, a study composed by the New York City Department Of Consumer Affairs, compared the prices of over 800 various products. The overall goal of this study was to estimate the price differences between male and female products. Unfortunately, in their results, they found that on average, products for women cost 7% more than comparable products for men. This meant that women paid 7% more for children's toys and accessories. 4% more for children’s clothing. 13% more for personal care products and 8% more for senior/home health care products. The pink tax doesn’t simply affect clothes for women but a vast variety of categories, remaining unfair to any woman that should be paying the same price as men.

The stereotypical routine of a woman, though this does not include every woman, takes a significantly longer amount of time than the typical man’s routine. There is more detail that goes into cleansing the skin, styling one’s hair, taking a shower...etc. This generally takes more time, energy, and money to complete.

Beauty is only skin-deep, but the perceived absence of physical beauty often leads to harmful social bias. Women face more backlash when it comes to their appearance, culture has driven many to believe that with the more products they buy and more makeup they can put on, it will somehow make them gain more “beauty.” Many studies have shown that the relentless pursuit of beauty is related to body image, body perception and body satisfaction.

Women are subjected to criticism and cruel judgment and often gender roles force girls and women into a stereotypical portrayal. From a young age, girls find it difficult to escape the peer pressure of wearing the right clothes, trying on make-up and attempting to fit in. Social pressures come from many directions and from many of their peers.

Catalina Dyson, ‘24, is also affected by pressure in society's high expectations of the ideal female beauty standards.

“Having a Latina mom who enforces beauty standards, social media also makes me feel I need to look like the girls on there,” said Dyson.

Beauty standards can often stunt growth among young women that are trying to find their own individual path to positive self-esteem and confidence. Society should not be meant to drive girls to think they have to conform. Creativity sprouts beauty, not societal norms.

Much like the pink tax, the gender pay gap affects many women on an even larger scale. Any working woman suffers from a noticeable difference in income. Many men make an argument that it’s because women aren’t actually working to get into their position. Yet much of the female workforce has to work even harder to get there.

Maggie Janco is an employee at the Walnut Creek Starbucks. Maggie used to be a construction worker prior to her job now. She explains how men get treated differently than women.

“I was doing as much work as most men there, but after about a year of working there, I realized they made much more. They were entry-level with me, equal skillset, etc,” said Janco.

Sophia Parko ‘21, recognizes the same pattern in her mother’s life who undoubtedly worked hard for the money she needed to provide for her family, yet, somehow the gender pay gap dwindled her income.

“The gender pay gap has affected my mother, who I no longer live with but when I did it unfortunately affected her very negatively. Her paychecks slowly started to cut down compared to my dads, and continued to fall no matter how hard she worked.” said Parko.

Although the Pink Tax affects every woman, many are still unaware of what it is and how its impacts on their daily lives. The gender pay gap is well known today, but there are hardly any changes being made to improve the situation. An increase in tax or less pay may not seem like the most important issue to many people, but for others it can make the difference for supporting their family. These topics are often ignored and pushed into a corner, however, it remains important to recognize the injustice many women are facing on a daily basis.

Jane Ababei, Sarah Hesser, Maya Merta, Kiana Miska, Macy Mohlenkamp, Olivia Overton, Isabella Tucker-Sandoval

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