Women paying a lot more for popular products
Published Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:13PM PST
Lynda Steele went on a shopping trip to London Drugs to do a gender pricing experiment, and found that women are paying more for the same goods -- in a blatant example of gender-based price gouging.
An 11-ounce can of men's shaving gel sells for $1.99 while a seven-ounce can for women retails for $2.49 -- a 20 per cent difference.
Old Spice men's ‘Game Day' body wash sells for $5.99 for 532 milliliters. The same size of Method Marine Naturals body wash in water flower scent for women sells for $8.99 – one-third more.
And when it comes to treating puffy eyes, the L'Oréal Hydra Energetic Ice Cold Eye Roller for men sells for $15.99 for 10 milliliters. The women's Olay Regenerist eye roller retails for $29.99 -- almost double the price.
North American research suggests that women pay 30 to 50 per cent more for hair cuts, new cars, life insurance, mortgages, tailoring and items at the cosmetics counter.
Tim Silk of the UBC Sauder School of Business says gender pricing won't change until women actively fight back against discriminatory pricing.
"If consumers took a stand and said ‘we're not willing to do this' and if a firm were to respond by perhaps advertising ‘hey, we price the same for men and women,' that might attract consumers," he said.
Legendary Vancouver hair stylist Jon Paul Holt said one day there could be true gender equity in the hair industry, but the parity will likely be achieved by inflating the price of men's haircuts.
"They haven't quite caught up with women yet. I think there may be a time where they will, but I don't think women's prices will drop down to match the guys, unfortunately," he said.
After 35 years styling hair, Holt admits that sometimes women are victims of gender pricing discrimination.
"There is a difference between a male hair cut cost and a female haircut cost -- sometimes not justifiable in honesty -- but that's how it is," he said. "If you felt strongly enough talk to your stylist and ask them if they'll give you some sort of discount."
A Toronto firm that specializes in research on female consumers estimates that Canadian women pay up to 50 per cent more for services and products than men. And a 1994 study in California found price discrimination cost each woman in that state about $1,300.
Several U.S. states, including California and New York, prohibit gender-based pricing. And the practice has been banned in the European Union.
Similar movements haven't gained much momentum in Canada. A proposed gender tax in Ontario was introduced in 2005 but never passed.
Watch CTV News for a full report from Lynda Steele...
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