Book Finds Gender Gap in Costs at Marketplace

Article excerpt

By Diane Duston

Associated Press

WASHINGTON _ Women in America pay more than men for the same goods and services, from cars to health care to dry cleaning, according to a new book aimed at helping women get more for their money.

For example, women buy about half the new cars sold each year, but a white woman would pay about $150 more for the same car as a white man and an African-American woman would pay about $800 more, according to "Why Women Pay More," published by consumer advocate Ralph Nader's Center for Responsive Law.

"There is an element of suckerism," said book's author Frances Cerra Whittelsey, a former reporter for Newsday and The New York Times. She said culturally women have not educated themselves to money matters so well as they should.

When women visit doctors with the same illness as a man, they're prescribed more tests and drugs and told to come back more times than men, her book says.

And at dry cleaning establishments, a woman's white cotton shirt traditionally costs about 27 percent more to launder than the same style man's shirt, the book reports.

Whittelsey found similar inconsistencies in other areas.

In auto insurance, women over age 25 pay the same as men although women have fewer accidents.

In clothing, a man's knit shirt is almost always less expensive than the same style in the women's department.

For haircuts, two out of three shops in New York charged women $20 for basic shampoo, cut and blow dry, while charging men $16.

To make matters worse, women still are earning an average of 74 cents for every $1 earned by a man, according to the book. …