Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine Wants To Ban 'Sexist Tax' On Women's Toiletries

Razors, deodorant, perfume... why should women pay more?

An MP has launched a bid to stop shops pricing products differently when they are marketed to men or women.

Lib Dem Christine Jardine introduced the bill to parliament on Tuesday, hoping to ban what she calls a “sexist tax”, which allows items like deodorant and razors to have gendered pricing.

Not only are women being penalised at the checkout, says Jardine, but coupled with the gender pay gap, they’re facing a “double whammy” of earning less and paying more.

“It is entirely unacceptable that in 2019 women and girls are still paying more than men for basic products,” she says. “This unfair price gap will have a significant financial impact on a woman over the course of her life.”

Jane Barlow - PA Images via Getty Images

The proposed bill, known as the Gender-Based Pricing (Prohibition) Bill, will have its first reading on Tuesday 5 March, but requires government to support to progress.

A 2016 investigation by The Times found women and girls were charged, on average, 37% more for clothes, beauty products and toys. Boots also came under fire in the same year for charging £2.29 for an eight-pack of women’s razors, compared to £1.49 for a 10-pack of male razors.

In 2017, Tesco announced it had “acted on concerns” about the difference in price of disposable razors, by reducing the cost of women’s razors. Although some shops are addressing the problem, there’s still a way to go.

Research by price comparison site Idealo found women still pay 6p more per millilitre for perfume than men do for aftershave – this means on a 50ml bottle of perfume, such as Yves Saint Laurent Opium Eau, women will pay £16.12 more than the men’s version.

Women also still pay VAT on sanitary products – the so called ‘tampon tax’ – although the government has pledged to remove this when the UK leaves the European Union.