5 times it’s more expensive to be a woman «
Even if you’ve never heard of the “woman tax,” you’ve probably paid it — and over your lifetime, it can mean spending tens of thousands of dollars more on goods and services targeted to women.
Alliance / Shutterstock.com Indeed, a number of studies show that many items are routinely more expensive for women than for men. A study from the state of California on this so-called woman tax found that women, on average, pay about $1,351 annually in extra costs for similar goods and services. While the study is from the ’90s, many experts say that such pricing discrepancies still exist — and will continue to: “I don’t see this going away anytime soon, because the dialogue in our culture is that men and women are different — we call each other the ‘opposite sex,’” says Nicholas Guittar, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, who has studied gendered pricing; thus, he says, pricing differences don’t bother Americans enough for people to rebel against them. “Gendered pricing disparities will persist despite the presence of increased gender equality in society.”
Click to Play When it costs more to be a womanCatey Hill on five things women pay more for than men. Photo: Getty Images.
To be sure, there are retail situations in which women get better prices. “Ladies night” at a bar — when ladies get in free but men must pay admission — is one of them. Car insurance is another: Men pay an estimated $15,000 more over their lifetime for car insurance than women do, according to insurance comparison site CoverHound.com. And just because men may tend to pay less for an item doesn’t mean gender discrimination is always at work, says Catherine Liston-Heyes, an economist at the University of Ottawa who has studied differential pricing. Sometimes an item or service costs, on average, more to provide for women than men, so that is reflected in the pricing, she explains.
Whatever the reason for differential pricing, one thing’s certain: “The cumulative cost of these differences is significant,” says Guittar.