Do Women Pay More Than Men?

Women throughout the world are victims of being overcharged for everyday items and tasks, such as dry cleaning, automobile services, health insurance and deodorant. This mishap is known as “gender pricing,” and it has resulted in women paying more, yet receiving less (Goldman, 2012). Gender pricing should not be a factor in the lives of everyday women, since it is a form of discrimination. Being a woman in this time can be extremely expensive, even including women who may be a part of a higher socioeconomic classes due factors such as higher education and a well-paying job. Something should be done to cease gender pricing, since it is an everyday occurrence many women do not even acknowledge.

Several women have reported various circumstances in which they feel as though they may have been overcharged for a particular item or service. One woman and co-founder of a research firm, Janet Floyd, reports visiting a local launderer to dry clean a couple of blouses, since she heard of a “launder four shirts, get the fifth shirt laundered free” deal (Goldman, 2012). When she dropped off her blouses, the owner of the dry cleaner said, the deal was only for “dress shirts,” indicating the sale was only offered to men (Goldman, 2012). Sellers of services and items often abuse the ability to analyze the buyer’s ability and willingness to pay, allowing for a flexibility in setting a price (Cron et al., 2009). Supporting the idea that successful women are more willing to pay for services, Janet still offered to pay for her blouses to be dry cleaned, when the owner replied that blouses were six dollars and fifty cents and dress shirts were two dollars to clean (Goldman, 2012 and Ternet, et al., 2010). This occurrence may seem like a discriminatory act, but, in reality, it is legal and faced everyday by women.

Civil rights laws prohibit discrimination of the sale of goods based on an individual’s race, sexual orientation, or gender, but there are no laws protecting women from these loopholes. Women are likely to pay more for mortgages on homes, health insurance (especially for preventative services), automobiles and automobile services, and even items like deodorant, razors, and soap (Goldman, 2012). When at the grocery store, not only may it be easy to pick up what is needed and go, but also many do not take the time to notice the price differences between women and men’s items, like deodorant or soap. On average, two-hundred sticks of deodorant of different brands have been found to cost thirty more cents per ounce, and the only difference is the scent and labeling (Goldman, 2012). Additionally, women are often deceived when purchasing an automobile, or receiving services on their automobiles. Women, on average, have been quoted two-hundred more dollars when purchasing an automobile when compared to white men (Goldman, 2012). Also, it is not uncommon for women to be over-quoted or suckered into paying for services that may not be necessary for automobile maintenance. This may be due to the ability of sellers to judge the character, usually centered upon gender, of the buyer and continuing to set a price for the transaction (Cron, 2009). Women are losing out on every purchase made.  So, why is this happening? Well, it may be the result of sex differences and their willingness to pay, especially for services such as preventative health care services.

Women may be more willing to pay for some services, such as those dealing with healthcare, more readily than men. Women with higher incomes and higher education may be more willing to pay for more services, since they are well-educated about the adversities of poor health or death (Ternet, 2010). Also, an unobservable characteristic of who may be responsible for having the most control over a household (commonly a woman or a mother figure) are also more willing to pay for services. Despite these characteristics, women are still conned into purchasing health insurance that is several hundred dollars more for policies, than if men were to initiate the purchase (Goldman, 2012). Ninety-five percent of health insurance companies admit to “gender rating,” which is this act of up-charging women for the same policies as men. Although these are only a few examples of gender pricing in our country, something must be done to put a stop to women paying inflated prices for the same items and services as their male counterparts.

Gradually, some help is headed in the direction of women, but most of it is through women speaking out about their experiences. Due to website that allow reviews, like Yelp, women are able to express their experiences with companies that have treated them unfairly, and this helps to educate other women about the occurrences of gender pricing within their communities (Goldman, 2012). Also, Obama’s health-care bill, passed in 2014, was intended to outlaw discrimination within health insurance policies (Goldman, 2012). Unfortunately, women are still facing the effects of gender pricing.

Women continue to lose money on each transaction that is made, and this is the result of a phenomenon known as “gender pricing.” In the United States alone, women have been found to pay over one-hundred and fifty-one billion dollars in extra costs when purchasing items and services (Goldman, 2012). This number is an eye-opening factor as to why an end should be put the gaps in pricing based on an individual’s gender. The next step in avoiding this form of discrimination may be to simply avoid paying for items and services that are overly-priced, even if it is a woman’s favorite scent of deodorant or soap. 

 

References

Cron, et al. (2009). Gender differences in pricing of professional services: Implications for income and customer relationships. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 109 (93-105). Retrieved from   https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Slocum/publication/308338689_cron_gilly_slocumgraham/links/57e14b6508ae9e35380081d6.pdf

Goldman, Lea (2012). Why Women Pay More. Marie Claire. Retrieved from https://www.marieclaire.com/career-advice/news/a6999/why-do-women-pay-more/

Ternet, et al. (2010). Willingness to Pay for Maternal Health Outcomes: Are Women Willing to Pay More than Men? Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, 8, 2, 99-109. Retrieved from http://shclibrary.worldcat.org/title/willingness-to-pay-for-maternal-health-outcomes-are-women-willing-to-pay-more-than-men/oclc/599968429&referer=brief_results