Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Beat discrimination - use your boyfriends' razor

If you always suspected that women were paying more for stuff than men, then it turns out you were right. Research for the Times newspaper has revealed that women are charged more money than men for products that are practically identical. Men pay almost half the price that we do on jeans, toiletries, and even stationery.

Identical razors that differed only in colour are sold at 31p each to men and 19p to women. The difference is that one is orange and one is pink. Pink - especially for girls, see? We wouldn't want to put anything to harshly-coloured next to our skin when we are alone in the bathroom.

This is 'price discrimination' - where identical or largely similar items are sold at different prices by the same provider in different markets.
Photo by Edward Conde via Flickr Creative Commons

Price discrimination for children

The most sinister of these findings was the gender price difference for children's toys. A pink girls' scooter was found to be £5 more expensive in pink than in blue.

Discriminating against children is horrible. As a parent you may choose to buy the cheaper and perfectly scootable blue scooter for your little one. But children can put their parents under immense pressure. If she wants the pink scooter her friends have got, then giving her a blue one just won't cut it.

In the past it was more expensive to have daughters than sons, because when the girls grew up you had to pack them off with a dowry to get married, while the boys could earn their keep. Now we can all pay our way, but again girls are more expensive because their stuff comes with a higher price tag. It's another step backwards in gender equality.

What can we do?

Retailers exist to make money by selling products. They want to make as much money as they can, so they calculate their prices based on:

  1. What it costs them to make the product
  2. How much the average customer is willing to pay for the product

The price generally will fall somewhere between 1 and 2, preferably as close to 2 as possible, so the retailer makes more money. So the reason that women are charged higher prices is simply that we are apparently prepared to pay more for stuff than men are.

Retailers are discriminating against our gender, by charging us more money for basically the same products. But what makes it worse, is that we are prepared to pay the extra. If we weren't, then no one would ever buy the pink razors. So the shops would either make them the same price as the other ones, or stop selling them altogether.

Stop discrimination one razor at a time

MPs are challenging retailers about price discrimination, and hopefully this will lead to some changes. But as female consumers, we have a responsibility too.

Stop buying the pink razors. They're exactly the same as the orange ones, but by agreeing to pay more for them you are supporting the retailers in price discrimination. STOP BUYING THE PINK RAZORS.

We can't be expected to buy men's clothes and perfumes - our bodies are different. But by borrowing your boyfriend's razor you are single handedly making a stand against price discrimination, And he'll never know.
Photo by Billie via Flickr Creative Commons

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