Last year, a story broke about a Radio Flyer scooter. It wasn’t the scooter’s safety features or innovative design that caught consumers’ attention, but its color — more specifically, the price difference between the red scooter and the pink “girls’” scooter: $20. This price disparity isn’t limited to toys. Nearly 800 products that are sold in both male and female versions are more expensive for women.
Here’s a sampling of some of the things women pay more for than men and a few things that cost men more.
Women pay more for:
According to a 2011 study published in The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, women pay more for houses than men, at an interest rate difference of 0.4 percent. While the authors posit that the disparity isn’t gender-based, it’s still something to consider: “Women pay higher rates because they are more likely to choose lenders by recommendation, while men tend to search for the lowest rate.” So ladies, maybe we should shop around a bit more before settling on a lending company.
Some dry cleaning
While dry-cleaning suits tends to cost men and women around the same amount of money, getting your shirt dry-cleaned will set ladies back more. In a 2011 issue of Gender Issues, a study found that the average price to dry-clean a men’s shirt was $2.06, while a women’s shirt costs $3.95 to clean. The study was adjusted to examine the prices charged for comparable fabrics, not silk or rayon shirts that are more delicate — and tend to be worn by more women. Over a 10-year period, a man might spend $247.20 on dry cleaning, whereas a woman would spend up to $474 for similar items.
Personal care products
It turns out that women would be better off purchasing the blue-bottled “men’s” version of many products on the personal care aisle at the grocery store. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs published a study in December 2015 that outlined the difference in pricing for the genders for common consumer products. Women’s shampoo and conditioner cost an average of 48 percent more than men’s versions. Razor cartridges, razors and lotion cost women 11 percent more than men. Women’s deodorant is typically three percent more expensive for the “fairer” sex, and body wash will set ladies back about six percent more.
Most baby clothes
Even baby girls pay more for clothes, or their parents do. Girls’ baby clothes are typically more expensive than boys’ versions of the same items. Onesies are typically 84 cents more for girls, while baby sweaters for girls are an average of $1.48 more than sweaters for boys. Although baby shirts cost only about 20 cents more for girls than boys, that adds up over time.
Senior health care equipment
Supports and braces, compression socks, personal urinals, canes and adult diapers are all more expensive for women. Braces for women are nearly $5 more for women than men, while personal urinals will cost a woman 21 percent more than her male counterpart.
Not surprisingly, girls’ toys are more expensive than boys’ toys. The NYC study outlining gender price inequality found that girls’ bike helmets and pads cost 13 percent more than boys’, and bikes for girls are around six percent more expensive. Even backpacks are more expensive for girls than boys, with a 20 cent price difference.
But women don’t always get the bad deal. Men pay more for some things, too:
- Car insurance: Men tend to pay more for car insurance because, statistically, they’re a higher insurance burden. They tend to drive faster, wear their seatbelt less often and drive more recklessly than women of the same age. Men are also more likely to be involved in alcohol-related fatalities on the road.
- Child support: Not only do men pay child support more often than women, but they also pay higher rates than women since child support is based on income. According to the US Census Bureau, men are responsible for 85 percent of the child support orders. Women pay 56 percent less in annual payments when they are ordered to pay child support.
- Underwear: When the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs looked at the amount of money men and women pay for common consumer products, they surprisingly found that men pay 29 percent more for comparable versions of underwear. Although this statistic doesn’t take into account a Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale, men will pay more for women when buying cotton underwear available at most retailers.
It’s easy to blame different prices on gender inequality, but there may be more factors at play here. Just as men are charged more for car insurance because they take more risks on the road, it’s possible that women are just willing to pay more for a shirt than men. While women should definitely consider buying the “guys’” version of everyday products — especially things like deodorant and razors — it looks like men get the short end of the stick sometimes, too.
Have you experienced a disparity in pricing while shopping for men’s and women’s products at the store? We’d love to hear about your experience.
Megan Winkler is an author, historian, Neurosculpting® meditation coach, certified nutritional consultant and DIY diva. When she’s not writing or teaching a class, Megan can be found in the water, on a yoga mat, learning a new instrument or singing karaoke. Her passion for a healthy mind-body-spirit relationship motivates her to explore all the natural world has to offer.