Being female really is expensive

By Chris Dawson January 20, 2016 - 10:54 am

Woman with credit cardAnalysis of pricing from hundreds of retailers by The Times has discovered that the cost for many fashion, beauty and toys for females is routinely higher than similar products intended for men.

The first issue of course is the question of whether it’s sexist to assume that some products are male orientated and others are for women. We all remember the picture of David Beckham wearing a sarong.

Leaving the stereotyping issues aside, the report reveals that Tesco charge double for pink disposable razors compared to those for men and Levi 501 jeans were on average 46% more expensive for the women compared to the male version.

Across all products with different prices, those aimed at women were found to be 37% higher on average.

The Times say that out of the 100s of product price checked, only one male version cost more than the female version – a set of underwear. That surprises me, I’ve seen the price of minute bits of lingerie and they’re not generally cheap!

The Times suggest that it’s a sexist rip off and reports say that retailers may be called to Parliament to explain themselves. I however wonder if it’s entirely the retailers fault, could it be that the issue lies with the manufacturers? If female orientated products cost the retailer more than the male versions then they can hardly be the ones to blame for charging more.

Is your pricing for the products you sell inherently sexist? One might suspect that on marketplaces there’s so much competition that prices are generally driven down to the lowest sustainable costs which would suggest the issue isn’t so much with retailers but with the manufacturers and suppliers.

Of perhaps at the end of the day it is because we’re still generally a very sexist society and man will buy blue razor blades and women will buy pink razor blades and that’s just how it is until a manufacturer makes a unisex grey blade that will please no one? You tell me, I haven’t a clue.

  • james
    6 years ago

    men will buy blue razors, green razors, yellow razors, we dont care, its a razor. most of us would take the pink if it was cheapest. ( i say that, in fact most men care enough to buy a proper razor, its mainly women who buy disposables)

    women will pay twice as much for a pink one.
    its not men’s fault, or the retailers, or the manufacturers, its the women paying for this stuff. you are the market that bares the price.

    think the only sexist thing in there is assuming that women have to use the pink ones.

    • Rachael
      6 years ago

      I buy the cheapest male razors rather than paying so much more because it’s pink. Personally I can’t tell any difference!

  • Joe
    6 years ago

    The talk of sexism is interesting, I think its more just an exploitation of a market. It will be interesting to see the quality difference regarding the razors.

    I will say its mostly due to manufacturers and retailers taking advantage of the market of womens fashion. There is an awful lot of women that are extremely interested in fashion, with the majority of fashion courses being taken up by women, mostly women will buy fashion magazines etc, there’s even whole tv shows dedicated to the world of fashion. Then you have people eager to dress like their favourite celebrities, even in newspapers you will see a fashion section and next to pictures of celebs is information where you may buy knockoffs from your local high street. Because of the high demand people are exploiting and charging a ridiculous amount, usually the products are also of a lesser quality than the mans/unisex items.

    Its also interesting to see the way clothes are marketed between the two sexes, you see few advertisements for mens clothing but womens clothing adverts are all over the place, and especially on tv.

    I’m all for consumers demanding a fairer price on their products so if there is a disparity that cannot be explained hopefully pressure may fix that. While there’s a complain about price hopefully people can convince the manufacturers to do away with faux pockets and include actual, useful pockets.

  • Gary
    6 years ago

    The female products have smaller production runs increasing manufacturing costs. Jeans for example. Women have a choice of trousers, slacks, skirts, dresses, ethnic clothing, etc and in many countries women are not permitted to wear jeans. Men of all races and religions wear jeans worldwide so many times larger global market.

    • 6 years ago

      I’m less interested in the difference in price between men and women’s jeans.

      I’d much rather know why someone buying a size 42″ waist jeans isn’t paying more than my size 36″ waist and why I’m not paying more than someone with a 28″ waist. Stands to reason the more material the more the item should cost… or is that not the case?

    • Gary
      6 years ago

      You can buy denim jean fabric rolls 1.5m wide for around £1.25 per yard on Alibaba. Labour cost is pretty much the same for making a pair of jeans regardless of size or sex. The big cost is design and tooling or production programming and this has to be spread over the production run and may well be costed at European/USA levels rather than far east levels. Smaller female production runs have a higher level of design and tooling costs built into the price. Not forgetting packaging where applicable.

      This principle applies to all products that have batch production.

    • Kyle
      6 years ago

      Smaller tailors, e.g. dressmakers on Etsy, will charge more depending on size and they get tons of hate for it. It’s the same every time airlines try to make a fat guy pay more for his seat.

      It’s better to lower margins slightly than have the bad publicity.

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