Letters to the Editor: Women pay a price for the ‘pink tax’

One reader suggests something be done about the difference in price between similar products marketed differently to men and women while others discuss the ongoing bombardment of Gaza, and the lack of bins in Clonakilty town
Letters to the Editor: Women pay a price for the ‘pink tax’

Women pay on average 35% more for body wash, 10% more for deodorant, and 59% more for facial creams than men. 

As I have gotten older, I have noticed several issues in the world around me. The most troublesome one however, is that of ‘pink tax’. Pink tax is the price difference between similar products that are marketed differently to men and women. It is an ongoing issue that needs reform if Ireland is to truly progress.

Pink tax costs women more money than men each year, which is incredibly unjustified. Women pay on average 35% more for body wash, 10% more for deodorant, and 59% more for facial creams, just to name a few examples. On average, pink tax will cost a woman €178,185 over her lifetime. Given that women already earn 4.9% less than men, (on average), this is incredibly costly. It shouldn’t cost more to be born a woman.

There is no one for all method to eliminate pink tax, but there are small measures that can be taken. The Government must recognise what pink tax is, and seek to bring it down, or else it will continue to thrive. In several American states, laws have been created to prohibit or outright ban pink tax. I think this is the regime we need in Ireland. Women should avoid buying pink and classically ‘female’ products. Lack of buyers calls for a decrease in price. Until there is an administration in place, pink tax wins.

Sophie Bell, Clonakilty, Co Cork

Providing food and relief in Gaza

The world is looking on in horror as thousands of innocent civilians in Gaza are brutally killed due to the ongoing horrific and indiscriminate bombardment by the Israeli army.

This follows the appalling attacks committed on Israeli civilians, and the plight of Israeli hostages remains one of deep concern.

Over the space of two weeks, more than 5,000 people, including over 2,000 children, were killed by the Israeli army since hostilities escalated on October 9th. This figure does not include the thousands injured. Too many men killed, too many women killed, too many children killed. The scale of death is catastrophic. It is entirely avoidable.

Despite the extremely limited reopening of aid channels this week, the situation is dire with a critical shortage of food, water, and medical supplies. Hospitals are running out of fuel: Children, patients, babies in incubators, and pregnant women will lose their lives if fuel is not provided to hospitals in Gaza.

ActionAid is working with two local partners in Gaza who are doing their utmost to provide food and other relief items to families that they can reach. But access to supplies is limited and transportation to the shelters is challenging and dangerous.

When it is safe to do so, we must be prepared to respond promptly, ensuring the well-being of thousands who will be left without access to food, water, or shelter, while also prioritizing the safety and protection of women and girls.

We stand at a critical juncture for our collective humanity.

ActionAid welcomes the Irish government’s focus on respecting international law. Political leadership is so very badly needed from those with influence. We implore the international community to do everything in their power to bring about an immediate ceasefire, reverse the evacuation order in Gaza, guarantee the full protection and safety of civilians and ensure lifesaving humanitarian assistance now.

Karol Balfe, CEO, ActionAid Ireland, Parnell Square, Dublin 1

Government fails on foreign policy

Our government is failing at representing us in foreign policy. In Palestine, a genocide is taking place: War crimes, apartheid, and the wiping out of families by the Israeli regime. The Irish people unequivocally support Palestine in opinion polls. It is angering to see the Taoiseach sit on the fence.

From one side, we hear milquetoast appeals for Israel to cease collective punishment in Gaza with respect to international law.

From the other, Mr Varadkar talks of Israel being the closest to a democracy in the Middle East, states that it has the right to defend itself against ‘brutal, savage’ enemies and refuses to grant the same protections to Palestinian refugees as were given to Ukrainian refugees.

His party is also the only one across the political spectrum that blocked the Occupied Territories Bill.

We must be wary of the government’s attempt to align itself with Western powers and must hold them to account for their stance on Palestine. Ireland, as a post-colonial state, should not forget its history. Our solidarity must extend to all oppressed people around the world.

TCDSU president László Molnárfi

TCD BDS chair Isobel Duffy

Dr David Landy, Department of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin

USI vice-president for campaigns, Zaid Albarghouthi

Litter in Clonakilty

I wish to express my concern about the lack of bins in Clonakilty town. This issue has a negative impact on the environment: People cannot find a bin so instead of bringing their rubbish home they decide to leave the rubbish lying around — littering our once tidy town.

I think this is a major problem as Clonakilty is a tourist town where many people come and visit our beautiful beaches and to see our amazing history.

Due to the lack of bins and more rubbish lying around it is taking away from the breathtaking beauty of our town.

I think this problem has a very clear and easy solution: Place more bins around the town.

Joanne O’Sullivan, Bandon, Co Cork 

Into the blue

Regarding the rare white lobster that is turning blue in the Achill Experience Aquarium. Maybe it is depressed.

Eve Parnell, Harcourt St, Dublin 2

Flawed report on Ireland’s neutrality

Louise Richardson, chairwoman of the Consultative Forum on International Security Policy, has delivered her report — ‘Security forum chair says neutrality “not necessary” for Ireland’s reputation’ (Irish Examiner, October 17). Many contend, myself included, that the primary purpose of the (biased) forum was to advance the government’s position that the triple lock clause relating to United Nations authority for overseas military operations must be amended.

Ms Richardson opines that: “While there was not a consensus on this point, the preponderance of views, especially among the experts and practitioners, is that it is time for a reconsideration of the triple lock as it is no longer fit for purpose.”

In her introduction to the report, Ms Richardson correctly notes that “it must be borne in mind that the [written] submissions were not a random or representative sample of the population, rather the views of citizens engaged in these issues; therefore, it would be unwise to extrapolate from these views to the population-at-large”.

It follows that the views of the carefully selected experts and practitioners at the forum should also not be extrapolated to the population-at-large.

What conclusion, then, can we draw other than that a flawed
“consultative” forum has delivered a flawed report?

In which case, the Government has no right to cite the forum’s report as evidence of public support for its planned meddling with the triple lock.

Dominic Carroll, Ardfield, Co Cork

Warnings about the dangers of cannabis

I welcome the statement from a spokesperson for the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) on the debate around legalising the use of cannabis — ‘GPs organisation strongly opposes legalising cannabis’ (Irish Examiner, October 20). The statement says cannabis is a dangerous drug that has “profound and lasting adverse effects on individuals, families, communities and our wider society”. The organisation also spoke of the need for campaigns highlighting the “adverse health effects” of the drug.

It is regrettable that it has taken so long for the ICGP to speak out on the matter. However, it is better late than never.

As a former member of An Garda Síochána and otherwise, I have personal knowledge of the lasting effects it had, and still has on so many individuals and families.

I had hoped the members of the Citizens' Assembly would have decided in their report to take heed of the statements from the influential ICGP on the debate.

Alas, on reading the Irish Examiner front page on Monday morning (October 23) — ‘Personal drug possession should be decriminalised’ — it appears to be passing the decision onto the Government.

One would question if this was to absolve the Citizens' Assembly of any blame if, with the passage of time, it proves to be a bad decision.

Tony Fagan, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

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