Why are women paying more?
A new study has found that a wide range of women’s products cost seven percent more than similar products for men.
Described as a first-ever study of the gender pricing of goods in New York City across multiple industries, NYC’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) compared nearly 800 products with clear male and female versions from more than 90 brands sold in-store and online.
Specifically, women paid:
- Seven percent more for toys and accessories;
- Four percent more for children’s clothing;
- Eight percent more for adult clothing;
- Thirteen percent more for personal care products;
- Eight percent more for senior/home health care products.
Across the sample, the DCA found that women’s products cost more 42 percent of the time, whereas men’s products cost more 18 percent of the time.
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, the DCA noted.
The findings suggest that, over the course of a woman’s life, she pays “thousands of dollars more” than a man to purchase similar products, the DCA stated. Although there may be legitimate drivers behind some of the price discrepancies — such as ingredients, materials and import tariffs — most were the same quality items for both genders.
Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin said the study was designed to educate consumers about the price disparities so they can make educated choices, but also to “encourage all New Yorkers to join us in calling on retailers to change their pricing practices.”
A Washington Post article noted that companies may be taking advantage of women being willing to pay more for products than men. Women’s products also may be perceived as packing more value than similar men’s items.
“People see a greater fit between the product and their tastes,” Ravi Dhar, director of the Center for Customer Insights at the Yale School of Management, told the Washington Post, “and may be willing to pay more.”
- From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer – NYC Consumer Affairs
- City Releases Gender Pricing Study – “From Cradle To Cane: The Cost Of Being A Female Consumer” – NYC Department of Consumer Affairs
- Why you should always buy the men’s version of almost anything – Washington Post
What are the biggest reasons women’s products are generally priced higher than similar items for men? Are retailers and/or product manufacturers at fault?