When companies started cutting the prices of women’s razors, we thought the pink tax was on its way out. But alas, women are still being charged more than men for virtually identical products.
Sainsbury’s has come under fire for selling two strikingly similar Valentine’s day cards at different prices, depending on their target audience. While a card addressed “for my wife” was on sale for £2, the version addressed “to my husband” was 50p more expensive, retailing at £2.50. To add insult to injury, the cheaper card has two dogs.
A photo of the two cards side by side was tweeted by Julie Marlow, who asked: “What’s going on here? Why do I have to pay 50p more for a card for my husband than he has to spend for virtually the same card?”
Julie spotted the cards while at her local Sainsbury’s in Penzance, Cornwall. “I just thought it was a bit odd and probably a mistake that virtually the same card was priced differently,” she told HuffPost UK.
Others on Twitter were also quick to call out Sainsbury’s for “gender inequality”, with many also pointing out that it wasn’t just women being charged more for the Valentine’s card, but also gay men.
According to feminist writer and artist Rose Gibbs, the card pricing is part of a wider problem of women being discriminated against by retailers. “This kind of sexist pricing makes me wonder what the cost of tampons would be if men menstruated,” she told HuffPost UK. “If there is an opportunity to charge women more, while paying them less, just to remind us of our position in the world - society will take it - the price of showing love included. From razor blades, to hair cuts, to valentine cards women are always charged more.
According to the BBC, the cards were also spotted on sale at different prices at a Sainsbury’s store in Stoke-on-Trent. Dr Panos Sousounis, a lecturer in economics and finance at Keele University, told the BBC the pricing may have be due to with assumptions retails have about gender and spending.
“Retailers think that women are more willing to spend more money on a Valentine’s card. So they price it a little bit higher,” he said.
In response to the backlash Sainsbury’s has changed the price of the “for my husband” card. In a statement a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We appreciate this error being brought to our attention. Both designs are now available in store for £2.”