It has been reported in the recent past that on average, products marketed towards women are more expensive than products marketed towards men even if the products are identical. However, the clear disparity in prices caused by gender is also apparent in the UK. Among Britain’s largest retailers which include Tesco, Boots, and Amazon, women are charged on average 37% more than men for products that are essentially identical.
The price disparity is also noticeable among multinational companies such as Levi’s, Club Monaco, Urban Outfitters, and H&M. A pair of Levi’s 501 women’s jeans that are identical in waist size and leg length to the same pair of men’s jeans will be about 46% more expensive. Club Monaco charges women 28.9% more for their women’s clothes when compared to their men’s clothes. Urban Outfitters charges 24.6% more for their women’s clothes and H&M charges 7.9% more for their women’s clothes. Overall, in terms of clothing, women’s clothes are on average 8% more expensive than men’s clothes.
In terms of personal care products, the gender – pricing gap is the greatest. In the U.S., women’s personal care products are on average 13% more expensive than that of men’s. What contributes to this figure is that on average women spend about $15,000 on makeup during their lifetime.
Skeptics of the gender – pricing gap argue that the tendency of women’s products to be more expensive than identical men’s products is a product of women consciously choosing to buy the products that are marketed towards them. The skeptics think that to avoid the gender – pricing gap, women should simply choose to buy the male version of products. However, “Saying that women can choose to buy men’s products is like saying women can choose not to wear makeup: a logical, yet often impractical idea, given the emphasis that our society puts on women’s appearances and the sheer magnitude of the women-focused marketing machine.” (Zarya, 2016)
I believe that the society we live in values appearance and beauty more than it actually should. This can be seen through society’s emphasis on the appearance of women. Companies are aware of the immense value that society places on female beauty and instead of trying to combat it, they are taking advantage of it by raising the prices of personal products and clothing marketed towards women.