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article imageFrance's 'Woman tax'? Pink razors pricier than blue ones

By Robert Myles     Nov 4, 2014 in World
Paris - A campaign alleging French women pay more than men for similar products, such as razors, this week reached the doors of the French Economy Ministry.
Over the past week, a petition has been doing the rounds at the instigation of feminist group Georgette Sand on campaign website Change.org. The petition focuses on what it regards as sexist pricing, taking as an example French High Street retailer Monoprix. The feminist campaigners have dubbed such discriminatory pricing as a (sic) "Woman Tax."
The petition, that’s garnered over 36,000 signatures to date, calls on the French government to take action against such price discrimination where women in France, they say, have to fork out more centimes than their male counterparts for goods that are basically the same.
Monoprix is the first target of the feminist group’s ire. According to Georgette Sand, in the chain-store’s outlets, women pay 1€80 for five of the store’s own brand disposable razors. Yet, men, in the same shop, and who, let’s face it, in most cases probably have a thicker stubble to scythe through, only have to shell out 1€72 for a pack of 10 Monoprix razors with the same characteristics.
The feminist group says the story’s the same with shaving gel. Gel designated as women’s gel costs 2€87 for 200 ml but the male version comes in at 2€39.
Not only are the prices different but because similar products are sold in ‘female’ and ‘male’ aisles in stores, it isn’t so easy to readily compare prices. The campaign group concludes that whether in the case of branded or own-brand labels, it’s usually the case that products targeted at women come with a higher price tag.
In their own defence, Monoprix told The Connexion the reason for the price differential was that the company produced men’s razors in larger volumes and that there were additional manufacturing costs associated with the women’s ones. In the case of the shaving gel, Monoprix said the women’s one cost more as it contained “silk extract” and had a more advanced kind of spout.
Women in France, according to Georgette Sand, effectively take a double hit since women’s earnings are, on average, 27 percent lower than men’s. For retirees, the margin’s even greater with women’s average retirement income being 42 percent less than the figure for males.
Georgette Sand calls for an end to the practice of what they call “sexist marketing” suggests that Monoprix ought to equalize prices for male and female versions of what are essentially the same products.
And the problem isn’t just one restricted to the toiletries aisles in shops. Georgette Sand, on a Tumblr page, highlights numerous examples of the “woman tax.” These range from different prices for ‘female’ and ‘male’ rucksacks, discriminatory pricing at fitness clubs and sexist pricing for haircuts.
Men even get their nuts cheaper, no pun intended. One example of what’s claimed to be sexist pricing shows a bulk buy “Men’s Energy Mix” priced at 8€69 a kilo, while a similar looking “Women’s Vitality Mix” is 6 eurocents a kilo dearer.
Now the French Minister for Women’s Rights, Pascale Boistard, is taking an interest and recently met with representatives from Georgette Sand.
The upshot is that French government officials from anti-fraud body, Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF), have requested price breakdowns from across France to enable them to check allegations that women are being forced to pay higher prices than men for similar products.
More about sex discrimination, sexist pricing, french news, news from France, Consumer prices
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