The ugly truth
I know. It made me mad too when I read the headline from the Consumerist. Immediately I wondered: “How are stores changing the prices if a man walks in the door instead of a woman?”
No. That’s not how women’s pocketbooks are getting lighter. It’s the cumulative effect of purchasing such items over our lifetime that’s the issue. In4 a recent study, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs examined pricing on items ranging from toys to clothing to personal care and even senior care products. The products were basically identical – except for the packaging.
From the study:
Over the course of a woman’s life, the financial impact of these gender-based pricing disparities is significant. In 1994, the State of California studied the issue of gender-based pricing of services and estimated that women effectively paid an annual “gender tax” of approximately $1,351 for the same services as men.
While DCA’s study does not estimate an annual financial impact of gender pricing for goods, the findings of this study suggest women are paying thousands of dollars more over the course of their lives to purchase similar products as men.
You can download and read the full study from the DCA and see several examples of what they found. Things like:
- My 1st Radio Flyer Scooter: Red for boys at $24.99. The pink one for girls is $49.99.
- Red short-sleeved school uniform shirt: $5.47 for boys, $7.77 for girls.
- Bladder control guards/pads: Even though both packages were $11.99, the men’s package came in a 52 count and the women’s included just 39.
Seeing the “pink tax”
Though I personally have never seen – or maybe I just haven’t noticed – such pricing discrepancies out in the wild, but my eyes are now peeled for such things. Razors. Shampoo. T-shirts. Eyeglasses. I’m going to be paying more attention. A quick search of #genderpricing on Twitter, and you’ll be paying more attention too.
Have you seen a recent example of gender packing and a difference in price? We’d love to know. Tweet using the hashtag above or tell us here.