Gender tax

Women pay 7 percent more for “female” versions of products

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

A new study from New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) examined a wide range of nearly 800 products offered in “male” and “female” versions, finding that women are charged 7 percent more for products that can be almost or even completely identical. The study focused on 90 brands of products, including global brands, sold at two dozen different retailers in New York City in-store and online. Personal care products such as razors, and especially haircare, were far more expensive for women, costing 13 percent more on average. Adult clothing cost 8 percent more for women, and certain items, such as women’s shirts, cost 15 percent more.

Experts consulted by the DCA say that while men’s and women’s personal care items do typically have differences in ingredients, the differences are not a major factor in the price gap. The real explanation, it appears, is that women are willing to pay more for their products, often misled by the supposed benefits of “natural extracts and botanical ingredients” that make up less than 1 percent of the product. One particularly egregious case of price disparity, highlighted by the DCA’s commissioner, saw a “girl’s scooter,” a pink version of a red “sports scooter,” being sold online at Target at twice the price of its red counterpart.

Read the full story at Quartz.

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