Many products for women are no different than the same products marketed to men — but women are paying more.
Gender-based pricing, also known as the “woman tax” or “pink tax,” has been an accepted phenomenon since a 1995 California study that revealed women pay $1,351 a year more for the same products as men. This had such an impact that California became the first and only state to ban gender-discriminatory pricing.
In a new video on the YouTube channel The Daily Share, Mike Byhoff and Katie Isaacson tested just how true this remains in the other 49 states today.
First, they compared Schick razors, both the Hydro 5 for men and the Hydro Silk for women. Both are a similar product with five blades and moisturizing strips, but the women’s razor costs $1.41 more than the men’s.
They then did a side-by-side comparison of Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream for women and Neutrogena Men’s Age Fighter Face moisturizer which use the same ingredients according to the company, but the women’s version costs $1.07 more.
While Schick refused to comment for the video, Neutrogena told the producers that the reason the women’s products were more expensive was “related to a number of factors, including packaging differences, modification of the formulation that impact the manufacturing process, and the discretion of each retailer.”
That was a similar response to what deodorant spokespeople told Consumer Reports in 2010 when the company found that equivalent women-marketed products such as deodorant and shampoo were significantly more expensive.
One product that the team found was unisex pricing were American Apparel’s Oxford shirts— they cost $74.99 for both genders.
Unfortunately, if you were to get these shirts dry cleaned at the same cleaners, you’d find that the “lady-shirt” would cost more than the men’s — in this case, $6 compared to $5.75.
And it’s not just products. Before President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, women were paying a total of $1 billion more than men for heath insurance premiums. The Affordable Care Act banned those gender-based premiums.
But women still pay more for long-term care insurance. Women can expect to be charged a full 13% more simply because they’re expected to live longer, according to The Daily Share producers.
Maybe it’s time to start buying men’s product instead if they’re cheaper and fit your needs. No need to always reach for the pink if that choice will cost you.