When we talk about feminism and inequality, we tend to forget that it can hide in more subtle ways within our society. Some of the worst culprits of inequality are the corporations who market products “designed for women.” They charge the female consumer more money for equal or lesser-cost goods than they would sell to men.
So, not only are women getting paid less than men…
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy and research, “In 2013, female, full-time workers made only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 22 percent.”
The Pew Research Center says, “according to the White House, full-time working women earn 77% of what their male counterparts earn. This means that women have to work approximately 60 extra days to earn what men did by the end of the previous year. However, our own estimate, which is based on hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers, finds women earn 84 percent of what men earn. Based on our estimate, it would take approximately 40 days, or until the end of February, for women to earn what men had by the end of last year.”
…but they are paying more for goods as well.
BIC® Atlantis Retractable Ballpoint Pens, Medium Point, Blue Barrel, Blue Ink, Pack Of 4 $4.79 or $1.20 each
BIC® For Her Gel Pens, Medium Point, 0.7mm, Metallic Floral Barrel, Assorted Ink, Pack Of 2 $5.99 or $2.99 each
Other than a different barrel design and colored ink, they are asking women to pay more than twice as much and appealing to the “delicate feminine” in us. If you search Office Depot, you will find a wide array of products. If you search for items designed for women it is much harder to find the exact duplicate not designed specifically for a woman.
If you research designer clothing or other top name brands, the cost charged to a man vs. a woman changes depending on who the design was originally intended for. Bass Shoe Co. tends to charge the same price for its standard shoes. In some areas they charge men more for a similar look than a woman, and vice-versa depending on the item. Honestly? Both ways are wrong. Ralph Lauren tends to charge much more for similar dress shirts for a man than a woman. Lacoste used to charge more for the women’s version than the men’s but their pricing structure has evened out over the years.
This brings us to things that are not specifically designed for one sex or the other. I am talking everyday products that both sexes use. So I have included a few examples here to showcase that women need to be very aware and not buy into the hype of being designed specifically for a woman, though some items kind of need to be.
With the DIY world taking everyone by storm you would think that tool makers might be a bit more immune to this trend. However a quick trip through Home Depot shows you otherwise
HDX 3/8 in. Homeowners Tool Set (76-Piece) $19.97
The Original Pink Box Multi-Purpose Tool Set with 12 in. Tool Bag in Pink (30-Piece) $29.99
Less than half the number of pieces for 50% more. But let’s look at this example from the same company.
Apollo 161-Piece Household Tool Kit with 4.8-Volt Screwdriver $49.99
Apollo 135-Piece Household Tool Kit in Pink $59.99
26 fewer pieces for $10 more. The idea is that the women will see the pink, identify it as something they can use, though there is no difference in the build or structure of the products, and pay more money for less. In fact, marketers count on it.
How about something that we HAVE to use. Sure, you could get away with never using a tool in your life, male or female.
No matter how I looked on Target, I could not even begin to find anything packaged similarly by a single brand. Of course here style makes a difference.
Hanes® Women’s Active with Xtemp Boyshort 3 + 1 Pack (Colors May Vary) $10.99 or $3.66 each
Hanes® Men’s Brief 5-Pack $12.99 or $2.59 each
Hanes® Men’s 9-Pack Briefs – White $12.99 – $14.99 or $1.44 to $1.66 each.
No matter how you slice and dice it, the men pay less per unit of clothing than women do for similar products.
Of course, we can all agree that razors are overpriced for men or women, but a quick look in Walmart and here is what I could find for similarly packaged products:
Schick Twin Blade Plus Disposable Razors, 12ct $2.37 or 19.8¢ / each
Schick Slim Twin Women Disposables, 12ct $5.97 or 59.7¢ / each
Are you mad yet?
These are the same corporations who pay us less and then charge us more for their products.
These are the same corporations who probably don’t want maternity leave acts to be passed and other protections for women put in place.
What is worse is they promote the stereotype by saying women need specially designed products to do the same things that men do (outside of underwear of course, our bodies are shaped slightly differently down there, and men don’t wear bras in general.) But a pink hammer should be a style choice not a price point, especially if the only difference is the color of the rubber on the handle. They want to keep the stereotype that women are a fairer sex, need different products to appease our softer sensibilities and that women cannot be both rugged and feminine at the same time. They count on unknowing consumers to blindly and blatantly fall into that trap. They count on women to see “pink”, associate it as a product for them, and then be willing to pay more. We need to stop that cycle. We need to call it out.
Of course someone may point out the whole “supply and demand” part of how pricing works. Sure not everyone wants pink tools, and women may still make up a smaller part of the DIY community. But razors? Underwear? Pens? You can’t sell me on that.
Personally, I can’t stand pink, and it gets dirty really quickly.
Also, I’m not talking about items with the pink breast cancer ribbon on it either… that has a specific purpose and both men and women purchase those items.
Women? Do yourself a favor… don’t fall into the trap.