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13 Surprising Things That Cost More for Women

The American Association of University Women found that women working full-time in the U.S. were only paid 80 percent of what men were paid. Worse, not only are women paid less at work, they also pay more for the same items and services as men—about $1,351 more annually.

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Female hand holding house key,real estate agent.


A study in the Journal of Real Estate Finances and Economics found that women are likely to receive higher interest rates on all types of mortgages. According to the authors, “Women pay higher rates because they are more likely to choose lenders by recommendation, while men tend to search for the lowest rate” based on data they collected on how men and women differ in searching for mortgages. Unfortunately, the authors only analyzed borrowers’ behaviors and not the lenders’ perspective, thus, their explanation doesn’t truly explain the hefty gender discrimination in the mortgage market.

Don’t miss these everyday things that affect men and women very differently.

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Woman checking the care label of a pair of jeans

Dry cleaning

A 2011 study in Gender Issues, found that the average cost to clean a men’s shirt was $2.06 compared to $3.95 for women, even when the shirts were identical. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a better price if you’ve noticed pricing discrimination.

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Child wearing a helmet riding a bicycle down the street. The concept of lifestyle and childhood.
Olha Tsiplyar/Shutterstock


Did you know the princess pink bike protective gear that your daughter wants may be priced unfairly simply for its traditionally feminine designs? When the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs published a study of gender pricing in the Big Apple, the results showed that women’s products cost seven percent more than similar men’s products across five industries, including toys and accessories. “On average, the largest price discrepancy was in helmets and knee/elbow pads, with girls’ versions priced 13 percent higher,” the report stated. If she’s not fussy, consider buying a gender-neutral themed helmet instead. Find out the reasons women still aren’t equal to men.

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Close up of female hand that holding deodorant stick
Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock


Research published in The Cost of Doing Femininity: Gender Disparities in Pricing of Personal Care Products and Services, women pay $1.44 per ounce of deodorant while men pay $1.15—almost 30 cents less! Not to mention, the average container of women’s deodorant is about half an ounce less than that of men’s.

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iMoved Studio/shutterstock


A study published in the American Economic Review found that car dealers made better initial offers to white men than to white women (quoted $200 more) or black women (quoted $400 more). “Without any negotiating at all, two out of five white males obtained a better offer than their counterparts achieved after bargaining on average for more than 40 minutes,” the authors stated. Whether they’er commuting to school or work, women can face difficulties with their professional peers.

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Mixed race female customer clothes shopping in a boutique
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock


Adult women pay on average eight percent more for their clothes than men do, according to From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer. This isn’t comparing luxury brands to Plain Jane garments, either. In six out of seven categories, women’s clothing cost more, with the greatest price differences being in shirts (15 percent), dress shirts (13 percent), and jeans (10 percent). Browsing the men’s section when you’re shopping for generic T-shirts, sweaters, or socks might save you a chunk of change. Don’t miss these conditions that affect women differently than men, too.

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Women's haircut. hairdresser, beauty salon


Many people have different hairstyles and want different services at the salon. But what about two individuals that have similar ‘dos and opt for comparable cuts? You’d think they’d be charged the same, right? Well, the Cost of Doing Femininity study found that on average, women paid $35.02 for a basic haircut and men paid $22.78. “Price discrepancy between women’s and men’s haircuts ranged from $0 to $25.00” for the same basic cut! Avoid swanky salons, as pricing differences are usually greater, and if you’re going for a simple cut, try negotiating a fairer price.

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Shower woman washing hair showering in bathroom at home. Unrecognizable person from behind rinsing shampoo and conditioner from her long hair in warm bath with modern ceiling rain water nozzle head.

Shampoo and conditioner

Forty-eight percent. That’s how much more female-marketed hair care products cost compared to male’s. Of the 16 products compared in the New York study, the average price for men’s hair care products was $5.68 and $8.39 for women. Luxury and specialty products aside, shampoo and conditioner are usually the same. Opting to wash your hair with men’s subtly scented hair products could save you big. Here’s how men and women go grocery shopping differently.

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successful businesswoman driving car through modern urban city with reflections of buildings
Daxiao Productions/Shutterstock

Car insurance

Most people assume women always pay less for car insurance premiums than men because they’re safer drivers. Surprisingly, however, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) recently found that women are more likely to pay higher rates. Researchers compared 165 pairs of online premium quotes for men and women and found that, despite perfect driving records, 40- and 60-year-old women were charged more than men for basic coverage nearly twice as often as men were charged the higher rate. GEICO in fact charged female drivers higher premiums 83 percent of the time! Shop around the market to ensure you’re getting a fair deal for your driving record.

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Laughing Mixed Race Baby Boy Lying On Tummy At Home
Tatiana Chekryzhova/Shutterstock

Children’s clothes

Ever noticed newborn pink onesies being slightly more expensive than little blue ones? Well, you’re not just seeing things. The New York City Cradle to Cane study also found gender discrepancies in the pricing of seven out of nine product categories, including onesies, baby sweaters, children’s jeans, and more. Girls’ shirts cost a whopping 13 percent more on average, though the study states that of the five categories, children’s clothing was priced most similarly.

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Young woman removing hair on legs with razor at bathroom


Women usually spend more money than men on makeup and feminine hygiene products, but shockingly, they also spend more on the same health and hygiene products that men also buy. Of all industries analyzed in the Cradle to Cane study, personal care products had the highest premium for women, with products costing 13 percent more than those for men. Razor cartridges cost 11 percent more for women than men, despite razors being virtually the same for both sexes. Dollar Shave Club and other organizations are opposing this biased pricing trend by offering gender-neutral blades at the same price.

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Hands of car mechanic in auto repair service.

Auto repairs

Despite the data on car dealership pricing being almost two decades old, a more recent 2013 study found similar results for car mechanics. Women were quoted higher prices in auto-repair shops than men were when they signaled they were uninformed about market prices. So, despite both men and women being a bit clueless about the true cost of the repairs they needed, women were more often automatically quoted more than men.

Find out the emotional and physical ways heart disease is different in women, too.

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Teenage girl with the braces on her teeth is smiling,portrait of teen girl showing dental braces and toothbrush for braces

Supports and braces

From newborn to senior, women pay more for several products no matter what age group they fall into. “Senior home health care products cost more for women 45 percent of the time and cost more for men 13 percent of the time,” according to the Cradle to Cane study. Of the 22 supports and braces compared, women paid on average $4.74 more than men, which is a 15 percent difference. And we’re not talking drastically different products either–some of the braces looked exactly the same. It may be worth buying male-marketed braces or questioning suppliers for more reasonable pricing.

Read on for more ways life costs more for women.

Noelia Trujillo
I have seven years experience in both print and online communications and currently work as a Media and Promotions Officer at a regional not-for-profit in New South Wales, Australia, where I manage the public relations, social media, marketing, advertising, promotions and digital design. I am also a freelance writer, editor and translator (Spanish/English). My work has appeared on WomansDay.com, Redbook.com, TheHipPocket.com.au and GQ Australia.