Gender Pricing: When Women Pay More

December 12, 2012

It happens at the dry cleaners, the hair salon and the drug store. According to AOL Daily Finance, women pay about $ 850,000 in their lifetime just for being female. Find out where you’re getting gouged and how to avoid it.

Dry Cleaning and Hair Cutssalon

Dry cleaners often run deals, offering to launder men’s button down shirts for a dollar or two. But women who take in button down shirts usually won’t be  provided with the same discount. You can expect to pay two or three times as much to launder similar shirts. The dry cleaner will likely argue that women’s blouses must be hand-pressed instead of done quickly on a machine. Some experts advise asking for the discount anyway in the name of equality. Men’s and women’s hair cuts offer similar price discrepancies. Women– even those with short hairstyles– pay far more than men at the same salon.

Drug Store

Women’s magazine Marie Claire recently cited a study done by researchers at the University of Central Florida. They examined some 200 sticks of deodorant sold at major drugstore chains. What they discovered is that sticks created for women cost on average 30 cents more per ounce. Often the only difference was scent.


A study from the University of California’s Haas School of Business, the Yale School of Management and JD Powers and Associates, found that women and minorities pay about 2 percent more for the same cars. That can mean forking over about $ 500 more than a white male buying the same car. In order to eliminate the gender pricing on your next car, the study found that buying a car on the Internet rather than through a dealership will eliminate the extra cost.

Health Insurance

Women pay significantly more for health insurance, according to a report in the New York Times. A 30-year-old woman in Chicago pays $ 375 a month for a popular Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. That’s 31 percent more than what a man of the same age would pay for identical coverage.  Starting in 2014, the new health care law will ban gender pricing like this in insurance.

Smaller Paychecks and Longer Lives

Certified Master Social Worker with the Center for Financial Social Work Reeta Wolfsohn says not only do women pay more, but they also earn less and live longer.  “Feelings of inadequacy about making or handling money keep women financially passive, stuck and blaming themselves for their financial situations,” says Wolfsohn. She says 75 percent of the elderly living below the poverty line are women. “The ‘Gender of Money’ touches girl’s lives at a very early age and influences them throughout their life span.” Since women often take time off of work to raise children that missing income means less in Social Security benefits.

How to Stop Gender Inequalitycars

In the case of dry cleaning or hair cuts, you can always ask for a discount equal to the one offered men. But Marie Claire says to take it a step further. Contact your lawmakers and ask them to make gender pricing illegal. So far the only state with a law on the books is California. But if more women speak up about this inequality then financial discrimination may be stopped.

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