In late 2014, the Tumblr blog Woman Tax, created by a group going by the name of Georgette Sand, went viral in the francophone web. The French government caught up with the trend and launched an official inquiry. Its goal would be to determine whether or not women paid more for certain products, on top of earning less than men.
We got in touch with the administration in charge of the issue and learned that the report had no publication date set. It was not entirely absurd to think that the whole affair had been buried deep within the corridors of the French Ministry of Finances. We did not take someday maybe for an answer and set out to find the Woman Tax and compute how much it was. We wouldn't even stop there: We would compare European countries and see if some markets, such as egalitarian Sweden, had a lower Woman Tax than others.
The task at hand seemed easy enough. We live in Berlin and are often in Paris (Journalism++ has offices in both cities) and saw clear differences in each town. Rossman, a German drugstore, displays products for men and women side-by-side and one cannot spot a clear price difference by gender. Fly one hour west to Monoprix, a French retailer, and you will find clearly separated male and female products, the latter seemingly much more expensive.