Last week, a YouTube video revealed what happened when a Toronto coffee shop posted a new menu, charging women more than men for the same java fix. Many customers were suitably distressed (orders were cancelled, f-bombs were dropped), until they found out that the gender-weighted pricing was the work of GirlTalk HQ, a women’s empowerment organization. The goal of the stunt was to draw attention to the so-called “pink tax,” that sees female consumers paying more for goods and services that should be genderless but aren’t. And it’s no small problem.
According to a recent study conducted by the data-mining firm ParseHub, women pay more than 40% more for personal care products. Other estimates suggest that the crime of shopping-while-female can cost an extra $2,000 a year (a whopping $100,000 over a lifetime). GirlTalk recently launched a petition, #FightPinkTax petition, which has 1,750 signatures and counting — when they get 5,000, they’ll present it to the Federal government. In the mean time, here are 10 consumer categories where women commonly get gouged.
Not the fancy schmancy trimmers, but rather the basic, plastic ones, where the only discernible difference is pink versus blue handles. Women can shave away the difference by purchasing the blue ones instead.
Strong enough for a man, but pricey enough for a woman: $4.69 for women’s Degree vs. $2.29 for men’s Degree — a particularly stinky disparity for anyone whose ever smelt a men’s locker room.
3. Dry cleaning
The average cost for a professional cleaning of a women’s shirt can be nearly twice as much as the male equivalent, which is almost enough to make you iron your own dress shirts…almost.
4. Baby clothes and toys
The bad news: gender based price-gouging starts pretty much at birth, with clothing and toys for little ladies being consistently higher than their little lad counterparts. (At Canadian Tire, children’s gardening gloves featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sold for $6.99, while the same product with characters from Frozen were a dollar more. The worse news: It also extends well into old age (adult diapers).
5. Hair cuts
In the era of Justin Bieber and Harry Styles, gendered coif pricing feels as relevant as “The Rachel” cut. Props to the ones that offer coif equality.
6. Car repairs
In a 2012 study, researchers at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management found that uninformed women seeking auto repairs are quoted higher prices than similarly clueless men. “Shops believe, righty or wrongly, that women know less about cars and car repair,” and are thus more likely to take them for a few extra bucks, one of the study’s authors explained.
7. Health Care
Canadian women are spared this one, but our U.S. counterparts paid more for healthcare until the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (A.K.A. Obamacare in 2010). Donald Trump has said he will repeal it if he wins…because you really needed one more reason not to vote for the guy.
As well as having their own Beyoncé anthem, single ladies are subject to higher interest rates on their mortgages, and denied mortgages more frequently. This despite the fact that women are less likely to default on their payments. (Throw your hands up!)
9. Designer clothes
The style industry website The Business of Fashion studied several major luxury brands (including Gucci, Alexander Want and Saint Laurent), finding that women were paying up to $1,000 extra for the same garment as men, which is only slightly more ridiculous than paying $2,000+ for a sweatshirt.
In 2012, BIC released a line of “For Her” writing tools (A.K.A. pens). The preposterous products, which are $1.30 more expensive than the standard blue-topped pens, were met with all sorts of criticism, but apparently not enough since they’re still on sale today. Sigh.