Author Q&A: Alara Efsun Yazıcıoğlu

The gender equality and discriminatory consumption taxes: an interview with Alara Efsun Yazıcıoğlu, author of Pink Tax and the Law: Discriminating Against Women Consumers

About the Author:

What is your academic background?

I hold a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Economic Law degree from the University of Geneva (Switzerland). I also have an LL.M. degree (in Sports Law and Practice) from De Montfort University (the United Kingdom). I obtained my PhD in tax law from the University of Geneva in 2016. I also worked as a research and teaching assistant in tax law at the same university for 3 years. I am currently working as an assistant professor in tax law in Turkey.

What first attracted you to the Pink Tax as an area of study?

Pink tax is a captivating subject from a tax law point of view, since indirect taxes are not likely to give rise to gender discrimination by design. The possibility of this rare occurrence motivated me to research the concept more in details.

What was the last book you read (non-academic)?

I tend to read 2-3 books at a time, one novel, one popular science book and one self-development book. The last ones I read were A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk, Misbehaving by Richard H. Thaler and The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday.

Who or what has inspired you most in your career so far?

I cannot name a specific person who has inspired me in my career but Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Albert Einstein have constantly inspired me throughout my life.

I have two aspirations in my career. The first one is to demonstrate that ‘tax’ is not a technical and complex issue that is reserved to experts. Taxes constitute an important part of everyone’s life and forming an informed opinion on the relevant tax issues is not necessarily a burdensome and boring process. The second one is to provide viable solutions to the problems I am researching. I always aim for suggesting reasonable solutions that are rather effortless to implement.

Do you have plans for future books? What’s next in the pipeline for you?

I am currently working on a short book on the concept of hidden tax. We are all paying ‘well-concealed’ taxes during the day without realizing. I consider my research on hidden tax as the second layer of the research I conducted about pink tax. Hidden tax is, like the pink tax, a fascinating subject combining different social sciences, namely law, sociology, psychology and economy.

I am also preparing my PhD thesis (titled Taxation of International Sports Events, An Income Tax Analysis) for publication. It will include a part on taxation of the recently emerged ‘eSports’ and a legislation proposal for taxation of international sports events.

About the book and the subject area:

Congratulations on the publication of your book Pink Tax and the Law! What inspired you to write a book on this topic?

Pink tax has become a popular concept and yet the information available on it is far from being adequate. There are only a limited number of official resources, which mainly concentrate on one specific aspect of the issue. Rest of the information may only be obtained from online resources that are mostly limited to the non-scientific personal opinion of their author (which may go as far as indicating that pink tax is a problem exclusively due to women’s lack of willpower). This information clutter was my main source of inspiration. I wanted to provide a scientific approach to anyone who is interested in forming an informed opinion on the matter.

Two-part question: a) Why is Pink Tax and the Law relevant to the present day? b) How do you think the field is evolving today?

Studies show that the practice of pink tax exists in many countries today, just like the ‘tampon tax’ does. Pink Tax and the Law analyses these two ‘taxes’ that most women are currently paying without even realizing.

Fight for gender equality has clearly become much more persistent and widespread in the last decade. One can only assume that the subject is going to gain more importance in the near future. Adequate government intervention and legislative measures are still lacking to a great extent but there also are promising developments in the field, like Iceland’s latest legislation on gender wage gap.

Is there one piece of research included in the book which surprised you or challenged your previous understanding of the pink tax, and its implications for society?

I did not realize the exact impact of ‘gendered products’ and ‘gender stereotypes’ prior to conducting a research for the book. To me gendered products were easy to discern and one would not be affected by gender stereotypes if he/she refused to adhere to that pattern of thought. When I discovered that almost every product available on the market was ‘gendered’ (including androgynous products and products that are gender-neutral on purpose) and that merely knowing about the gender stereotypes causes a person to be affected by them, my perception of the pink tax changed dramatically. Gendered products and gender stereotypes allowed to create the problem referred to as the pink tax and now they are allowing to perpetuate it.

What did you enjoy about writing the book?

I loved writing this book for a number of reasons. First, ‘pink tax’ has never been analysed from a tax law point of view before. Second, the subject is interdisciplinary, it includes not only legal but also economic, sociological and psychological aspects. Combining all these different social sciences was a challenging and at the same time fascinating task for me. Last but not least, this project allowed me to work on discrimination, an issue that I would like to see eradicated not only as a lawyer but simply as a human.

What is the main thing you would like your audience to take away from Pink Tax and the Law?

Pink tax is a real problem that lacks fit in our modern societies. It should be eliminated by means of government intervention.

See more about Pink Tax and the Law: Discriminating Against Women Consumers

Pink Tax and the Law

Pink Tax and the Law

This book provides scientific answers to these questions. It first cuts through the existent information clutter by elucidating the pertinent economic, sociological and psychological components of the practices referred to as ‘pink tax’ and ‘tampon tax’. It then proceeds with a thorough legal analysis of all relevant aspects to determine whether women are indeed subject to discriminatory consumption taxes.

It is well-established that women earn less than men. This book investigates if they simultaneously pay more due to ‘discriminatory consumption taxes’. Read More

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