A Lesson on the ‘Pink Tax’ from Burger King

Price discrimination is illegal, but nonetheless it exists. Previous articles on this blog have discussed the ‘Pink Tax’ that women encounter when buying products that are the same (or nearly identical) to those bought by their male counterparts. Oftentimes, the only difference in the products is simply the color – using pink to attract female buyers.

Research confirms this pricing discrepancy. According to a study done by New York City in 2015, girl’s clothes cost 4% more than boy’s clothes, women pay 7% more than men for accessories such as bags and watches, 8% more than men for clothing, and 13% more than men for personal care products. In total, price differences cost women $1,351 per year more than men. (And yet, women on average are paid only 79% of the wage paid to men.)

To highlight the topic, Burger King took a creative approach and released a 60-second video that shows just how crazy it is to ask women to pay more for a product that is packaged in pink. In the spot, pink-boxed Chicken Fries are sold for $3.09, while regular packaged Chicken Fries are only $1.69. Unsuspecting female customers have some great reactions!

What other examples of the ‘Pink Tax” can you uncover?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What is their experience with price discrimination between males and females? Why do they think there is a difference in prices?
  2. Show the Burger King video: https://youtu.be/7rtHmSfYDbs
  3. Vox also has a brief overview of the pink tax: https://www.vox.com/2018/3/30/17179350/pink-tax-beauty-products-gender-inequality-women
  4. Divide students into team. Have each team research products that are similar for men and women (such as clothes, health and beauty products, sports, etc.).
  5. List the products and prices on the white board.
  6. What could be done to correct the price discrimination?
  7. Note: The New York City study report is available at: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dca/downloads/pdf/partners/Study-of-Gender-Pricing-in-NYC.pdf

Source: Ad Week; New York City Consumer Affairs

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