Pink costs more than blue?

6-25 Page 4A.inddThere was a thought-provoking news story on public radio the other day about gender-based pricing disparity in France.

It seems that many products identical in materials and ingredients are priced more for women than for men. For example, it was found that disposable razors identical in every way except for color are more expensive for women than for men. Pink disposable razors are priced a good deal more than blue ones. They are different only in color.

Do you think it really costs more to color razors pink than it does to color them blue? That argument doesn’t fly. And an investigation of this situation has resulted in sad news. Razors are just the tip of the iceberg.

It seems that many products women buy with ingredients identical to those sold to men cost more. A recent study shows that women on average are paying about $1,300 more a years for the same services and products bought by men.

In France, there’s a government agency investigating, and women are joining in protesting unfair pricing.

Surely this situation can’t exist in America. But after conducting some research, it has been found that that is exactly the case in our own country.

And it is a double whammy. Women in America are paid on average about 75 cents on the dollar of what men are paid for doing exactly the same work. So women are charged more and paid less. Doesn’t seem very fair, does it?

There is a substantial difference in costs for products with identical ingredients. Shampoo, moisturizer, sunscreen and deodorant are just a few. In addition to products, women are charged more for certain services. It’s much more expensive for a woman to have a shirt dry-cleaned than for a man. Really. And haircuts for women are also more costly, even if they wear their hair super short.

It seems ridiculous and illogical for this situation to still be the norm in 2014, but such is the case. And, so far, the powers that be refuse to correct this inequity.

We’re on our own. It’s up to us. So, what can we do?

We can contact our representatives and ask for a fair shake in the marketplace. We can find out which candidates support equal pay for equal work and vote for them.

And we can read product labels to compare content and see if the only difference between men and women’s products is in the labeling and packaging.

If the blue razor is cheaper, buy the blue. Beware of labels for shampoos with pictures of flowers. Read the label and compare the contents to other shampoos.

Check out deodorants and shaving gels.

Buying shaving gel with a picture of a manly man on the label will not make a woman masculine. It will just save money.

One of the few weapons at our disposal is the purchasing power we all have. Don’t buy products that are a rip-off. If the dry cleaner has unfairly priced fees, shop around and negotiate. Or, if possible, don’t buy clothing that needs to be dry-cleaned.

Let’s educate ourselves and do our best to protect ourselves and our families in the marketplace. It’s up to us.