Revealed: women overcharged in ‘sexist’ shops

Saving on shaving: Razors for men and women sell at different prices.

A newspaper investigation has found that women are often charged more than men for almost identical products in shops. This is clearly unfair — but whose fault is it?

What’s happening

Toy scooters cost £5 more in pink than blue. Pens ‘for her’ are more expensive than ordinary biros. Tesco sells five pink razors for £1, but for the same price you can get ten in blue. These are all examples of the discovery that, on average, women are charged 37% more than men for the same things.

Find out more

The investigation by The Times looked at hundreds of products sold in shops around the country. It had one conclusion: the high street is ‘sexist’. For some reason, women are expected to pay more than men for products that are essentially the same.

Maria Miller, an MP and member of the government, said that the practice was ‘unacceptable’, and accused shops of being ‘out of step’.

But many women were not surprised. A similar discovery was made in New York last year, and women are used to putting up with the knowledge than men are paid 14% more than them at work. This is known as the ‘pay gap’.

Meanwhile, shops defend themselves by pointing out that women seem happy to pay these prices — otherwise they could not get away with setting them.

Some say…

Women must do something about this injustice: they should boycott the pricey products. After all, shops only sell things that people want to buy. If they start losing money, they will be forced to charge fairer prices for everyone. Companies depend on their customers to get by, which means women have the power to change things they don’t like.

Others think…

A boycott might make a difference — but it would force women to buy the men’s items, which they might not want to do. The real question is, why do shops need to sell blue and pink versions of the same things anyway? If we really want equality, we should not separate products into ‘for men’ and ‘for women’. They should simply be ‘for people’.

You Decide

  1. Would you pay more for something because of its colour?

Activities

  1. A pair of men’s jeans costs £20. The women’s jeans cost 50% more (half as much again). How much are they?

Some People Say...

“The customer is always right.”

What do you think?

Word Watch

Average
A number which is the central or typical value of a larger set of numbers.
Sexist
Unfair treatment because of people’s gender (as women or men).
MP
A ‘Member of Parliament’, voted for and elected by the public.
Pay gap
Example of an average: when all the men’s salaries or wages are added together, they receive 14% more than the women.
Injustice
Something which is unfair.
Boycott
Refusing to buy something.
Equality
Fairness, based on all being treated the same.

Subjects

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.