The good news is that the gender tax phenomenon is not that harshly experienced in SA, as the case might be in the more developed countries. Looking at the UK specifically, younger females’ car insurance premiums increased substantially as the EU placed a ban on insurers calculating premiums based on gender. Though no gender directive exists in SA, younger females in our country are facing higher premiums for comprehensive car cover as well, but this is more relative to the higher risks that the youth generally tend to face on our roads. As long as your driving can be proven to be safe and lawful, there shouldn’t be any car insurance premium hikes imposed on you.
There’s some logic in women having to pay more for certain things than men. In this article we’ll take you on a journey of comparison, shedding some light on the gender tax phenomenon and why it is that women may be paying more for certain products and services.
1. Dry cleaning
The cost of dry cleaning is said to differ between items of clothing for men and women, as women are said to pay more for certain select items. If you think about it, it would make logical sense for the cost of dry cleaning to vary, especially if you take into consideration that certain materials (silk, polyester and wool) need to be handled with additional care. We’re pretty sure that a silk shirt (about R104 per item) is going to cost more to send to the cleaners as opposed to a more standard cotton shirt (about R89 per item). In addition, a number of items that women may wear or make use of may cost more to dry clean e.g. pashmina’s, scarves and dresses.
2. Health, home and beauty products
We read quite a few sources covering this subject and were not convinced that women pay more for personal care items. We needed to see it ourselves, and so investigated the matter further at an online pharmacy which is quite well-known locally. What we found out was that a marginal increase existed in lotions for women as opposed to men. In this case the marginal mark-up noted may have had more to do with the actual manufacturing of the product, as it would be specific to men and women due to the varying ingredients. Women are often posed with more variety, and the greater the variety of the product group the more likely the prices are to increase or decrease by a margin.
3. Health insurance
The increased costs for medical aid and health insurance policies that women need to pay may be rationalised by the fact that it’s likely that women may need to pay visits to the doctor a substantial amount more. Think about the additional specialist appointments that may be needed to the gynaecologist for routine check-ups, or the regular visits to the doctor during pregnancies. Similarly, research suggests that men are not as likely to go to the doctor as women are. In a research study of about 4 000 men, it was surveyed that three times more men than women were more likely to avoid visits to the doctor. So, there’s some method in the surplus charges that women may need to pay in the medical fees madness.
Appointments at the hair salons and exclusive stylists can really wreak havoc on a woman’s budget. To us it makes perfect sense that there would be a price discrepancy between the stylist appointments for men and women. This would be firstly, because women generally tend to have much more hair than men and secondly because there’s a larger variety of hair treatments available to women. Hair salons have a pricing system, so depending on the length of your hair and the styling required, prices will vary. It really is a matter of logistics – think about the amount of product required and the amount of time it would take to style accordingly. All of these factors are likely to determine the total costs involved with a trip to the hair salon.
5. Imported goods
Internationally speaking, there appears to be a difference in how specific male items are taxed, as opposed to the way in which specific women’s wear is taxed. A research study recently suggested that women’s sneakers were taxed at 10%, whereas men’s sneakers were taxed at eight percent. It seems that a history exists for this sort of gender bias in tariffs – this is not said to be the case with all products or items of clothing, but the general consensus remains that certain products for women do have these additional charges.
6. Car services
Avoiding stereotypes and generalisations, a recent report by womenonwheels.co.za stipulated that women are more likely to be overcharged for car services than men. This is especially true when they need emergency aid on the road when left stranded. Men are said to escape this through haggling and negotiating discounted prices for roadside assistance. It’s understandable that when we find ourselves in an emergency situation, we can easily buy into anything without thinking twice about it. This is one of those situations when having done a little bit of market research beforehand would give you more bargaining power. More than that, having the necessary car insurance would certainly be of assistance as usually with the tailor made policies and packages now made available, you can add on roadside assistance services, which could save women money.
This brings us to the end of our comparison journey and, based on the these insights, it seems that in some cases the additional charges that women may experience on specific purchases are well founded. If you really want to be ahead of retailers, services industries and businesses alike, you need to have an understanding of what the going rate for any product or service is. Of course, one way to avoid being hoodwinked by surplus charges is to acquire the needed knowledge through market research or price comparison with aggregators like Hippo.co.za.