Have you been tightening your purse strings a little tighter lately or passing on Taco Tuesdays because lettuce is a CRAZY $6.49. If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Welcome to the world of inflation… , She-flation.
For women, high inflation exacerbates an already uneven economic status.
We are grappling with a childcare crisis accelerated by the pandemic, women’s labor force participation dropped early in the pandemic (as well as their earnings) and it still hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels. And the gender pay gap continues to worsen an already precarious situation for women, especially women of colour, who have fewer financial resources to draw on in times of crisis.
Though inflation trends can impact women differently, gendered roles and expectations play a huge part. Did you know that due to a current tampon shortage, the cost of tampons has increased (on average, women’s products cost 7% more than similar products for men, with the biggest gap found in personal care products, where women paid 13% more.) In fact, women spend approximately $1,300 per year because of gender-based pricing, also known as ‘Pink Tax’.
So, what actually drives She-flation?
There are various factors that can drive prices or inflation in an economy. Typically, inflation results from an increase in production costs or an increase in demand for products and services
Inflation trends can impact women in different ways. Gendered expectations, like being responsible for a disproportionate share of household shopping, mean that women spend more time in stores, where they may notice variations in prices and feel the stresses of inflation more acutely. Women also spend a significant amount of their income on non-durable household goods, such as food and toilet paper, which are particularly impacted by current trends and perhaps even more shockingly, the price of vegetables increased
Historically, she-flation mostly harms women living on a fixed income and those who are in debt. Through this lens, women today are especially at risk of falling further behind. Recent studies show that student debt disproportionately affects females more than males and are more likely to hold credit card/Afterpay debt relative to men.
So, what can we do to balance the bias?
To ensure we are not left behind, policy needs to keep up with inflation – and by policy, we mean our government. Women need to continue to lobby for higher wages, greater contributions to their super from employers and advocating for paid leave, it’s also imperative you take into account the above factors when negotiating a salary increase and childcare subsidies (Sure, Men also pay for childcare, of course, but women tend to be the ones who stay home in heterosexual couples that can’t afford to pay for it)
While we are seeing the inflation numbers hit in a way that impacts our day-to-day, it’s ok to feel a little stressed by it, in fact, it’s quite common. So don’t be afraid to talk with your friends and family about money and share your experiences, this will help to normalise the taboo and concerns around females and finances.
And while we have you, it might be time to check out our other blog ‘The 5 Ways To Become A Financial Feminist in 2022 (and beyond)’.