By Libby Kane
NEW YORK (LearnVest) -- No one doubts that women spend more on certain things than men when they have different needs.
Makeup. Hair products. Waxing. Gyno appointments.
But then there are the charges you don’t see coming. Imagine $2 tacked onto every errand you run. Two bucks is pretty inoffensive on its own, but as anyone who has ever stuck to a budget knows, dollars add up quickly.
After reading in Marie Claire that dry cleaners charge more to clean a woman’s button-down shirt than a man’s, one of our editors tested it out herself by visiting her local dry cleaner in New York City. Lo and behold, her plain shirt cost $4 more than a man’s would have, because “the machine couldn’t fit shirts from a smaller person.”
California, the first state to ban gendered pricing in 1996, found that, on average, women spent an extra $1,351 per year in these extra costs and fees.
We like being women. We just don’t like being charged for the privilege.
So what exactly are these costs, and how can we opt out of the “woman tax”? We’ll tell you.
At the Drugstore …
In 2010, Consumer Reports found that equivalent products in a drugstore, like deodorant or shampoo, cost more if they were marketed to women. They asked the manufacturers why and almost across the board, the companies said it was more expensive to manufacture products for women.
“They are completely different formulations,” said one spokesperson of two antiperspirants with the exact same percentages of the exact same ingredients. Representatives of the offending companies also cited differences in packaging and foaming action (which women apparently requested) as reasons for disparate pricing.
A study from the University of Central Florida drew similar conclusions. It found that on average, women’s deodorants were priced 30 cents higher than men’s, when “the only discernible difference was scent.” It’s a similar case for most products marketed to women, such as razors and shampoo, which smell different and look different but at the end of the day serve the same purpose as scent-less, glitter-less versions.