How gendered pricing costs women almost $1,400 a year

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.

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.

Read the full article from Forbes here.

Below is the abstract by Megan Duesterhaus, Liz Grauerholz and Rebecca Weichsel, all from the UCF Sociology department. The research was recently published in the journal Gender Issues and you can view it here.

Economic discrimination has been a major focus of gender research forthe past several decades and such studies reveal a persistent gender wage gap. Thisstudy examines another aspect of the interaction between gender and the economythat has been largely ignored by social scientists—gender-based disparities in thecost of goods and services in the personal care industry. We examine prices chargedfor personal care products and services that are targeted toward women or men andfind that women pay more than men for certain items and services. Our researchsuggests that although the differences are not uniform across types of services orproducts, women do tend to pay more than men for items such as deodorant,haircuts, and dry-cleaning. We suggest that such practices contribute to genderinequality by increasing women’s economic burden and reinforcing essentialistthinking about gender (i.e., that women and men are biologically different).



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