A How-To on Closing the Gender Pricing Gap | Ellevest

So this is the kind of gap that sneaks up on you. In 1994, the state of California published a study on the average annual cost of consumer product goods and found that women paid on average $1,351 more per year for equivalent products as men. Now put that in today’s dollars and…you get the point. It’s a lot of dough.

Let’s tally this up: We women make less on average than men, and pay more on average for the same goods. What’s more is after the 1994 study, research and legislation around this hasn’t picked up as much as you’d expect. We haven’t seen another comprehensive study on the average annual surcharge on consumer goods for women in more than two decades. And only California, New York, and Miami-Dade county have laws against price discrimination based on gender. Even there, they are scarcely enforced.

For some recent examples, check out the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs’ 2015 Cradle to Cane report. One of the most eye opening points is that this starts early — we’re talking infancy. Girls’ toys and clothing are more expensive than boys’, and the products are typically only different in color or style. During the holiday season, you can head to Target and pay $25 for a red boys’ scooter. The same exact scooter in pink: $50. Mmmm…that’s not going to fly.

What’s a conscious consumer to do?

Shift the economics of gender pricing. (Yes, this will take a lot of us — so we suggest you start by emailing this guide to your girl-squad.) When the market perceives a higher willingness to pay, it will price goods at a higher cost. If Schick knows you’ll shell out an extra $3.50 on razor blades because they’re pink, you bet they’re going to charge you $3.50 more than they charge for men’s blades.

Do your homework on what the price is for comparable goods, and make sure you pay for the value you’re getting, not for what you’re asked to pay for.

Believe it or not, there are options out there (some are admittedly creative), and voting with your dollars is one of the most effective ways to influence change.

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A How-To on Closing the Gender Pricing Gap | Ellevest.