Women in UAE frustrated by ‘pink tax’ on products men pay less for

Female products, such as razors, are more expensive than the male equivalent in some stores.

DUBAI // Women in the UAE are voicing their frustration at the “pink tax” they are facing on everyday products for which men pay less.

Many women say it is noticeable that products for women, such as razors, are more expensive than the male version.

Egyptian Hiba Kassem, 29, who has been in Dubai for two years, said the pricing was unfair.

“I think they make female products more expensive because they know women are used to paying more for beauty products and services, and this is also due to the way the products are marketed to us,” Ms Kassem said.

“Do I think it’s fair? Absolutely not, because essentially male and female razors are and do the same exact thing.”

A pack of four Gillette Simply Venus disposable razors costs Dh18.50 in Waitrose, while a pack of five Gillette Blue II Plus for men in the same shop costs Dh15.

The same trend could be seen in Choithrams, where the ladies’ pack costs Dh19.50 and the men’s Dh15.75. The exception was in Carrefour, where the women’s pack was Dh10 to the man’s Dh13.

Ms Kassem said marketers used gimmicks to boost prices on women’s products.

“Female razors are usually differently packaged and pink and marketed to say that they have a softer handle, and we really don’t need all these gimmicks, which they do to justify the increase of prices,” she said.

“This is exactly why I don’t fall for it. I go to the supermarket and buy whatever is cheapest. It’s all the same thing.”

Lebanese Dana Ukar, 21, said: “It really doesn’t make sense that we have to pay more for our products just because they’re pink.”

Dubai resident Disa Tersmeden, 28, said there were other cases on supermarket shelves.

“I’m not sure if this is because women are ‘expected’ to get rid of their body hair so they’re willing to pay more, or if it’s because of gender inequality,” she said.

“Let’s not even get started on the price points of female hygiene products like shampoo. There’s a huge price difference.

“I think it’s ridiculous, quite frankly, and I have on several occasions bought men’s razor blades to shave my legs. They do the same job for less money.”

Justina F, a 34-year-old mother of two girls, said that the idea women should be paying more for products is outdated.

“I think we now live in a day and age where, although media can play a negative role in marketing over-priced products to women, it has also played a positive one by showing women that in some cases they are being taken advantage of,” she said.

“I also think it’s important that parents teach their children, especially little girls, that they don’t need expensive products to be beautiful.”

Last week, Tesco in the UK decreased the price of women’s razors after complaints were made that women were being charged more.

Pricing differences between female and male products have been found across various products in a number of stores across the world, studies have shown.

The only supermarket to respond to The National was Choithrams, which said: "There are currently no plans to decrease the price of women's razors at Choithrams.

“On checking with Gillette, they say the quality of blades is better and manufactured to suit sensitive skin.”