NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A study released Friday by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs concluded that women on average are charged 7 percent more than men for numerous categories of consumer products.
The study, “From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer,” broke down price differences in New York City between more than 800 personal care items, clothing, toys, and senior products for men and women. The study also concluded that women’s products were priced higher 42 percent of the time.
The figures mean that throughout a woman’s life, she will pay thousands of dollars more than a man to buy similar products, the study said.
WEB EXTRA: Read The Full Study
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, some women consumers were not surprised.
“Actually, I buy men’s socks, because they’re half the price of ladies’,” said New Jersey resident Peg Ross. “I’ve done that for years.
“Is it fair? No, it’s not fair,” said Robin Marcos of New Jersey. “Men make more money than women traditionally. Their clothes should be more expensive.”
The higher prices for women are also known as the “woman tax” or “pink tax.” They are well known to one mother, who has three boys and one girl.
“The girls are more expensive than the boys. It should be the same price, but it’s not,” the woman said.
For one example, children’s Polo shirts for boys and girls look almost identical. But the girls’ top costs $7.77, the boys’ $5.47.
Women’s jeans of the same brand cost $88, compared with $68 for the men’s.
Some said there may be legitimate explanations for some of the discrepancies.
“I guess it’s not fair, but I guess because maybe women do shop more,” one man said.
“Men cost less. Women have to buy more clothes. Men can get away a couple of this, a few of that,” added Ross.
CBS2’s Baker did some checking herself, and actually found a men’s workout top cost $3 more than a women’s which had less material. They are of the same brand and similar style.
But overall, women’s consumer products cost more. Consumer Affairs also found discrepancies in several other product categories – a toy guitar with a boy’s face on it cost $34.99, while a Disney princess guitar cost $43.99.
Meanwhile, a scooter marketed to girls was priced at $49, while the same scooter painted red was $24. And a pink bicycle was $149, while a green one was $129.
“We really saw this time and time again,” said Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin.
Women also see a larger charge when it comes to dry cleaning.
The biggest price discrepancies were in personal care products such as shampoos and conditioners. A deodorant marketed toward women cost the same as the men’s, but the men’s was a larger stick.
“We sent letters to the CFEOs all of the manufacturers asking them to change this pricing,” Menin said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also said the results of the study merit change.
“We must advocate for equality at every turn. Gender equity is a priority of this Administration and across City agencies, which is why we’re placing pressure on retailers to correct their gendered pricing practices and why I established the Commission on Gender Equity earlier this year,” de Blasio said in a news release. “Gender discrimination is never acceptable, and when we know that women continue to make less than men every year, the findings of this study are insult to injury for female consumers.”
With the knowledge about the discrepancies in hand, Menin hopes consumers will be a little savvier.