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Is it really more expensive to be a woman?

Last year, a newspaper investigation claimed that on average women were charged around 37% more for beauty products and clothes than men. One of the retailers singled out was Tesco who at the time were charging twice as much for a pack of women’s disposable razors compared to the men’s version of the product.

These findings were revealed not long before the tampon tax was abolished and campaigning against this sort of pricing followed on from the momentum already there. Back in January, Tesco announced that they were cutting the price of women’s disposable razors to match the price of the men’s product, a big victory for those campaigning against so called sexist pricing on the high street.

This all comes at a time when the gender pay gap is back under scrutiny, in the media and from campaign groups, as a significant number of women are still earning less than their male counterparts despite the Equal Pay Act becoming law in 1970. New research released by the Fawcett Society found that only Caribbean and white Irish women were earning more than their male counterparts.

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According to the ONS, the gender pay gap for full time workers in the UK stands at 13.9% and for white British men and women, the largest group to participate in the research, men are paid on average £15.35 an hour while women are paid £13.21 per hour. This latest research came in the same week as findings from the Young Women’s Trust which found that female apprentices earn on average £2000 less per year than their male apprentice counterparts.

The main reason for this is being put down to gender stereotypes which are making it difficult for some young women to enter into sectors such as construction and engineering as they are still seen to be male-dominated sectors.

The Trust feels that this sort of thinking is holding women back before they have even started in their careers and they feel that more needs to be done to break down stereotypes, offer flexible working and maintain the same level of pay for a women entering into a male-dominated sector.

At a time when there has been a parliamentary inquiry into the widespread discrimination against women as a result of work dress codes, many would argue that there are clear issues stopping women from achieving full equality in the workplace and in their finances.

However, there are positives to remember. The gender pay gap has closed a little over the last 47 years, the tampon tax has been removed, there is flexible working on offer for some and shared parental leave is something men and women up and down the country can take advantage of.

So, is it really more expensive to be a woman in 2017? Only if you are in a role where you are being paid less than your male counterpart and you are buying products that are double the price of the men’s version of that same product.

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