“Retailers have got to explain why they do this.”
A recent study by The Times of London has revealed women in the UK pay a whopping 37 per cent more for female-targeted products than men pay for products marketed at men. According to an analysis of hundreds of products, clothes and beauty items for women and even toys for girls, it was overwhelmingly found that when marketed to women, the same products cost more than they did for men and boys.
Eerily reminiscent of the tampon tax debacle, the findings have promptly sparked outrage from women across the world.
The huge price discrepancies between men and women, which can be found at some of Britain’s biggest retailers, including Tesco, Boots and Amazon, have been labeled ‘sexist’. At Tesco, the price for ten disposable razors for women cost double the male equivalent. The difference? One is pink, the other is orange. Similarly at Argos, pink scooters are £5 more expensive than blue.
Even pens are subject to the expense. Although the products are identical, Bic’s ‘For Her’ ballpoints are more expensive than ordinary pens. That is, five ‘For Her’ black ink ballpoints with pastel shade barrels are £2.99 at Staples, whereas the same five pens in transparent and less slimline barrels cost £1.98.
“It is unacceptable that women face higher costs for the same products just because they are targeted at women”, said Women and Equalities Committee Chair, Maria Miller.
“Retailers have got to explain why they do this. At a time when we should be moving towards a more de-gendered society, retailers are out of step with public opinion.”
Tesco’s response to the scandal was deflective and clinical.
“We work hard to offer clear, fair and transparent pricing. A number of products for females have additional design and performance features. We continually review our pricing strategy,” stated a Tesco spokesperson.
A spokesperson for Boots had a similar response.
“Our products are priced individually, based on factors including formulation, ingredients and market comparison.”
This study comes after a similar investigation was conducted in the US. Last month, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs released findings indicating on average, women in the US pay seven per cent more than men for equivalent products.
The specific disparity of pricing depends on which product is purchased. For example, personal care products have the most significant pricing gap. Women’s items cost 13 per cent more than men’s. In addition, women’s clothing costs roughly eight per cent more than men’s.
Forbes conducted an analysis of individual retailers and discovered Club Monaco charges 28.9 percent more for women’s clothing, while Urban Outfitters has a 24.6 per cent rate of disparity and H&M recorded the smallest price difference at 7.9 per cent.
Comment: Are you surprised by these findings?