❝Whether you’re buying pink toys with your allowance as a kid or canes and compression socks in old age, it’s cheaper to be a man and more expensive to be a woman.
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs studied nearly 800 products in 35 categories that people buy and use throughout their life — everything from onesies and baby shoes to razors and deodorant.
Products marketed to women cost more than products marketed to men 42 percent of the time. And men’s products cost more only 8 percent of the time. Over women’s lifetimes, the report concludes, the differences can easily add up to thousands of dollars.
And all of this is legal. While some jurisdictions, including New York, have laws about charging men and women different prices for similar services, there are no laws about different prices for similar products…
❝…The worst offender was shampoo: men paid an average of $5.68 per bottle of shampoo, while women paid $8.39, a 48 percent difference.
There is no reason for this — men’s and women’s shampoo uses the same ingredients. And although other manufacturers of other personal care products justify the difference by saying, for example, that men buy razors more frequently than women, women use more shampoo than men. The report concluded that women are asked to pay more of the cost of research and development, a major expense for cosmetics companies, than men are…
❝There are reasons why women’s products might cost more. Women’s clothing is cut differently; girls’ clothing, the report noted, often had more expensive trimming, such as ribbons, ruffles, or glitter.
But there’s a deeper reason, particularly for clothing and personal care products, as Danielle Kurtzleben wrote for Vox in 2014:
There’s an obvious answer here: society expects women to look a certain way. Put into economics terms, there’s a higher return on investment for beauty for women. Beauty products are becoming more popular among men, it’s true, but expensive skin cream is still optional. For women, all those trappings are more necessary.
And that matters well beyond your bank account balance, because it reinforces socially constructed notions of what it means to be a woman…
From the market side, all the reasons are nothing more than rationales. The defining characteristics of our society flow from the economics of profit. Profit rules. If you can optimize profit, increase profit between demographics you go for it. You’re a Hero of Capitalism.
We see it across a broad range of transactions. We see it most of all — ripping off women.