What Women Pay

I read this article on MSN Money when I was out of town – Seattle, I think – so I didn’t write about it. But MP Dunleavy (with the help of Consumer Reports) dug up a whole bunch of scenarios where women are charged more than men for essentially the same service. Of course, this is not exactly news. And while I have noticed such things before, I think I had rationalized them to “women have more hair, so a haircut costs more” or “there are extra fragrances added that lotion” or “men push harder in negotiations/bargaining”.

Then there was mention of a lawsuit. Two ladies sued Saks for charging them for alterations on their evening gowns when alterations on men’s tuxedos are done for free. It sounds like wealthy women with too much time on their hands, but I guess the battles must be fought by those who have the means. It becomes scarier as Dunleavy notes the differences in mortgage and insurance rates and then the bottom line:

“When you look at each product or service individually, the affront doesn’t appear so egregious. But it all adds up: a few bucks for alterations, a percentage point or two in mortgage interest, higher health care co-pays. Then consider that, on average, a woman still earns about 78 cents to a man’s dollar (or $78,000 compared with $100,000 paid to a male colleague with the same level of experience).”

The moral of the story is that while there are larger battles to be fought here, the average women can make her statement by being a more educated consumer. Vote with your wallet!

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