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Is it more expensive to be a woman?

27 March 2015, 10:42

I'm pretty sure being born a woman is much more expensive than being a man. We just spend so much more. And no I’m not talking about luxuries; I’m referring to the basic necessities in today’s world.

From shaving products to basic dry cleaning and getting your car fixed. Not to mention tamps and pads.

This is the issue of the pink tax. What is pink tax? The term was coined in France in 2010 and is an ongoing campaign that highlights the fact that women are paying a higher price compared to men for essentially the same items or services.

For starters, women are paying more to shave. Yup, a four-pack of disposables Gillette Simply Venus for women razors costs KES 23.5 more than a TEN-pack of the male version, Gillette Blue. Most women also shave many more body parts than men: the front and back of knees, ankles, back of the legs, bikini line and underarms – which means razors go blunt more quickly.

James Williams, a Gillette spokesman, says that men’s and women’s razors have different blades, heads and pivots to perform separate jobs, therefore, the price difference is there for a reason.

"The hair women are shaving on their bodies are very different to those men shave on their face and neck; they are different lengths and have different coarseness and density and curvature."

Even a trip to the dry cleaners would cost double for a woman in comparison to a man. According to Gender Issues a study showed that woman fork out twice as much on average even though the materials they dry clean is the same, i.e. a blouse costs more to clean than a shirt.

There is, however, a debatable reason for the difference in price. Textile Services Association’s Martin Lewis insists that they charge according to the garment and not the sex of the customer. They said that a local dry cleaner said that the reason is that the man’s garment comes in a standard shape, so it can be placed on the shirt-finishing machine (a dummy onto which a shirt is fitted during pressing). A lady’s blouse is more shaped — you know to make room for the boobs — and therefore it needs ironing by hand.

"We charge according to the garment, not the gender." That was a quote from a local dry cleaner.

Yet, most dry cleaners don't 'discriminate' based on size of garment. Say that you have to pay more for an XXL shirt vs. a S shirt.

And what about the fact that women pay more to get their cars serviced?

According to a UK garage owner, Susan Abbs, women tend to pay more to service their car, because they are in what is perceived as a male dominated industry, with the assumption that women are fish out of water when it comes to car maintenance.

"Few women — and actually, few men — understand how a car works. But a woman is less likely to ask questions for fear of sounding silly. They also rely on their cars more for school runs, ferrying children about and getting to work. Therefore they are often more anxious to get the problem sorted — whatever it costs," said Susan.

Stereotyping much?

The car mechanic behind my building confirmed this, well his sexist comments confirmed this.

Women appear to be an easy target for basically everything. Don’t believe me? The next time you visit your hairdresser, ask how much a trim and colour would cost for a man and compare that to how you get charged. I dare you. Men with long hair often pay less that women with short hair. Double-standards? Definitely.

Also read: 4 silly mistakes men make for women

Retail expert Nick Swan, founder of vouchercodespro.co.uk says women are willing to pay more for ‘necessary luxuries’. Men apparently see a haircut as a chore more than anything and are not willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money for something they don’t deem ‘a luxury’.

Well, this is debatable since the last guy I was with had more grooming products than I did.

And let’s not forget Mother Nature’s expense, those monthly periods. The average female starts her period at 12 years old, and the length of a period is 5–7 days. On average sanitary pads are KES 159.5 (cost for 10 pads) and almost KES 400 for 16 tampons. That is bearing in mind that you have to change your pad/tampon every few hours. You do the math.

So why are women paying more?

It is bad enough that the petrol price is going up, KPLC is hiking up electricity tariffs and now we have to pay more on modern day necessities just because we are women.

It’s blatant sexism, and no I'm not being dramatic, or am I? Again, calling all women.

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- Women24


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