WOMEN
01/26/2016 01:08 pm ET

Women Pay More For Dry Cleaning Because They're Women

The "pink tax" even finds its way into our laundry routine.

Womanhood comes at a price, and throughout their lives, women will pay significantly more than men for virtually the same products. 

A singularly infuriating report about the lifelong cost of being a woman -- otherwise known as the "pink tax," was published in December by the New York Department of Consumer Affairs. 

From girl children's toys that vary in nothing but color in comparison to toys meant for boys to female brand razors with the same number of blades as that of a men's razor -- women pay more for the same exact products that men buy, too, throughout their lifetime. A girl's shirt, for example, costs $15.82 while the same shirt for a boy costs $13.95, according to the report which also reveals that women will on average pay $20 more for a pair of jeans at Levis. Deodorant, shampoo and face wash are other things for which women will pay more money. The report ultimately concluded that, on average, women pay 7 percent more than men for the same things. 

After the report was published, CBS News sent two producers -- one man and one woman -- to various dry cleaners around New York City with similar 100 percent cotton button down shirts. 

"Our female producer was charged at least twice as much in more than half the businesses visited," CBS reported. In one dry cleaner, the woman was charged $7.50 while the man was charged only $2.85. In another business, she was charged three times what her male counterpart paid. 

An employee at one of the dry cleaners justified the difference in cost with "the machine and how we press it." But Kam Saifi, who owns dry cleaning company Next Cleaners, contradicted these workers' excuse. "Having a shirt laundered, and clean pressed, does not exist for women's tops. It's only for men. Women are getting penalized for that," Saifi said. 

However, the objection of gender taxes is becoming more and more vocal. Even President Barack Obama acknowledged that whoever was behind the idea of the tampon tax -- which the majority of U.S. states apply to feminine products for being "luxury items" -- must be blissfully ignorant of how periods actually work. One reporter at Mic even spent one week "buying bro" and saved herself a good $23.38. 

So why isn't there more being done about it? 

"One of the reasons that we can't legislate differences in products is because it's about the market. And there's a long supply chain. And we don't really know who's responsible for it," said trade lawyer Michael Cone, who is featured in the CBS report. He explained that women's products often enter the country with a higher import tax. 

Ultimately, Cone believes that it's up to the consumers to make the necessary reforms. "It might be five dollars that you pay that's extra to Uncle Sam, but by the time it hits the retail consumer, it can be 10, 12, 13 dollars," he said. "It has to be a market response, a written campaign, vote with your purse and your pen -- that's what's going to change it."

See the full CBS News report below. 

 

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