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High Price Of Being A Woman

10:59 PM, Feb 23, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) --  It's a buyer beware world out there if you're a woman. It turns out, the female gender pays more for some of the same items men also buy.

We went shopping at the Safeway in Georgetown to show you just how much more.

Take shaving cream.

We found Gillette Foamy Sensitive Skin on sale for $1.99. It's 11 ounces. The 7 ounce Skintimate Sensitive Skin shaving cream sells for $2.49.

A spokesperson for Skintimate says most of their branded shaving creams are at higher prices, because they are targeted for more skin care needs.

The women's product has 4 ounces less than the men's product but costs 50 cents more.

That is small pennies compared to what we found with deodorant.

Right Guard Total Defense, marketed as the official deodorant of the NBA, 4 ounces, sells for $4.29.

Secret Clinical Strength Sport, is 1.6 ounces, and sells for $8.49.

That's double for the women's product ... for half as much.  And, the labels on both seem to offer similar ingredients.

But a Proctor & Gamble company spokesperson tells us Secret deodorant is a higher tier product because it performs better.

Shopper Claire McKinley says this about pricing disparities.

"I think it's a shame. I think it's reflective of the idea that women are supposed to expend more effort on being beautiful."

George Washington University professor and public interest attorney John Banzhaf learned that in many ways it costs much more to be a woman.

Back in the 80's, his law students set out to find out why women paid more to clean their clothes.

"Women not only went to the cleaners, but they were taken to the cleaners," says Banzhaf.

At that time, Banzhaf's class found women were charged 3, 4 and in one case, 5 times more than men.

Banzhaf and his students filed legal complaints with DC's Office of Human Rights. Fifty dry cleaners signed a consent decree promising not to discriminate based on gender again.

Decades after Banzhaf and his class helped level the field, we wanted to know how well it's working. We had two WUSA employees take a white dress shirt, pants and suit jacket to three cleaners to see what would happen.

Our female employee was charged $5.40 cents for her white shirt. Our male employee was charged $2.65.

And, at the Bergmann's cleaners at Safeway, some customers complain about different prices for men and women to clean their shirts.

Men's shirts are $1.65 or $1.25 with a Safeway club card. The posted price for women's blouses is $4.99.

Bergmann's says it doesn't charge men and women different. The price is linked to whether a shirt can fit on it's standard shirt press - which churns out many shirts and hour - and whether it has to be pressed by hand or requires different care.

Jeff Bergmann says if a woman's shirt fits on the standard press, she gets the lower price.

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