In 1916, Jeannette Rankin was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, a full four years before all women were given the right to vote. Even though we were given equal rights when it comes to voting in 1920, mostly thanks to the work done by Representative Rankin and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, we’ve been fighting for equality ever since in everything else.
The “It’s That Time of the Month” Tax
You might not consider that time of the month a luxury, but in 45 states you are being charged a luxury tax on feminine hygiene products such as tampons and pads. As part of California Assembly Member Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) Proposal AB 1561, she included statistics showing that women in California average an extra $7.00 a month in taxes just for necessary feminine products. Over the course of 40 years, the average woman could be spending an additional $3,360.00. When you multiply that by the number of women in California, the tax dollars could be in the millions of dollars.
Bathroom Items That Cost More Than His
Open her medicine cabinet, and you will find that the average woman isn’t just paying more for her monthly feminine hygiene products. She’s paying more for almost everything from body wash, deodorant and razor blades. A study done by Consumer Reports in January 2010 showed that women were paying as much as 50% more than men, when the only significant difference in most cases between men’s and women’s products are packaging and scent. When comparing the ingredients in Excedrin Extra Strength and Excedrin Complete Menstrual sold at Walgreens, there was no difference in the gel caps except in the price where women were paying more for the Excedrin Complete Menstrual gel caps.
The Price of Clean Hair
In a 2015 study that supported the results found in the 2010 study by Consumer Reports, the Department of Consumer Affairs in New York City released “From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer”. That study indicated women pay more for personal care products 56% of the time more than men. The largest margin of difference in the price between men’s and women’s products was for hair care products. Shampoo and conditioner were on average almost $2.75 more for women than for men. Even a basic haircut in a salon cost more for women than men.
Minnie Pearl Wasn’t Just Making a Fashion Statement
The same 2015 Department of Consumer Affairs study of gender pricing differences in NYC also showed that women, from the time they are babies, pay more for clothing than men do. In children’s clothing, shirts can be 13% more for girls than for boys, with pants for babies 9% more for female babies. In clothing for adults, shirts were 15% more for women than men, with a close second at 13% more for women’s dress shirts than what men were paying. The only time clothing for males was more expensive than for females was when buying underwear.
When G.I. Joe Beats Barbie at the Register
In a study of high and low price range toys and accessories for children in New York City, six different toy categories were rated: bikes and scooters, helmets and pads, general toys, backpacks, preschool toys, arts and crafts. The only time toys for boys were slightly higher (1%) than for girls was in high dollar backpacks. The largest discrepancy in prices was in high price range helmets and pads at 21%. In the low price range items, bikes and scooters, general toys, and arts and crafts were all 17% more for girls than boys. Sometimes the only difference in the toys was the color.
Why It Might be Less Expensive to Hand Wash Those Delicates
Shopping for clothes? You may want to think twice about buying something that says “Dry Clean Only” on the label. In one study, women were found to spend almost three times as much as a man to dry clean a dress shirt, even before the dry cleaner considered the care for a special fabric or design. Suits, blazers and slacks were similar in price to dry clean, but often the reason given for the high price on women’s shirts was as irrelevant as the fact that women use perfume when in fact men also use after-shave lotion or cologne.
Staying Healthy Comes at a Price
If you are weighing your options for health insurance, you might want to thank The National Women’s Law Center. When they found that most health insurance companies were practicing “gender rating” and charging women more for their health insurance than men, they worked with the Affordable Care Act to ensure that it included provisions banning discrimination, and provided for services specifically needed by women. They continue to monitor insurance companies, working with state regulators and the government to make sure that the provisions in the health care law are followed.
A Woman’s Castle May Cost More
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics by three university students, suggested that women typically pay more for mortgages because they don’t do as much research as men do when looking for a lender to finance their home. While the number of female homeowners has almost doubled in the last ten years, women can pay as much as $26,000 more over the life of a 30-year mortgage just in interest. Bottom line? Do your homework if you are shopping for a mortgage loan.
Sticker Shock at the Dealership
In a paper published in the December 1994 American Economic Review, “Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining for a New Car”, research showed that females were offered a significantly higher price for vehicles than males were, even when both used the same negotiation strategy. The difference was as much as 50% higher on the final markup costs. Is the same today? Yes and no. As with shopping for a mortgage, it pays to do your research if you plan on negotiating for a new car. This video reveals that both women, and men, can pay more than they need to for a vehicle.
Understand the Going Rate of Basic Repairs
Speaking of cars, you might want to get a little grease on your hands and learn basic auto repairs and maintenance. Researchers have found that women who knew nothing about the repairs they were calling to get estimates on were quoted a higher price than a man in the same situation. Even when women stated they knew a little about auto repairs and gave the shop a higher-than-market quote that they had received from another shop, they were given prices higher than the existing quote.
What does it all mean? Knowledge is power, so do your homework on everything, especially if you are buying a house or car, or getting repairs on either one. Be willing to haggle if you feel you can get a better price. Compare prices and weigh the option of buying a lower priced item marketed for men — especially if you realize the only difference is the cost.