Retailers urged to respond to ‘sexist pricing’ claims

26-Jan-2016

Newspaper investigation reveals price difference for gendered products in the UK

Following the New York-based report on the different cost of gendered products, a probe by UK newspaper The Times has revealed a similar discrepancy in UK stores.

The newspaper analysed the costs of hundreds of products, including personal care and beauty items, and found that those marketed at females cost an average of 37% more.

In one instance, Tesco was found to be charging £1 for a pack of five disposable women’s razors and the same price for pack of ten men’s razors. The only discernible difference between the two was that the female product was pink. In Boots, a 100ml bottle of Chanel’s Allure deodorant is on sale for £30, while the male version is available at £23.50.

In response, consumer Stevie Wise has set up a petition through the change.org website calling for Boots – one of the UK’s top retailers – to address its pricing. At the time of writing the petition had nearly met its target of 35,000 signatures.

The petition states: “Boots should lead the way by announcing a review of their pricing of women’s toiletries and make a commitment to charge men and women fairly.”

Retailers could also expect questions from MPs. Maria Miller, Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, commented on the report: “Retailers need to explain how they can be charging such different prices for items which look identical. This is just the sort of thing the Women and Equalities Select Committee can consider and make sure that in this instance retailers are made to account for what appears to be price discrimination based on sex.”

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive at the Fawcett Society, told The Times: “This investigation is really quite shocking. What we are seeing is a sexist surcharge. We need more gender-neutral options and an end to these rip-off practices.”

In a statement, Tesco said: “We work hard to offer clear, fair and transparent pricing. A number of products for females have additional design and performance features. We continually review our pricing strategy.”

Boots has also responded to the report. In a statement, it said: “Our product are priced based on factors including formulation, ingredients and market comparison.”