Labour’s Paula Sherriff told fellow politicians how an investigation by the The Times newspaper that found items marketed at women are, on average, 37 per cent more expensive than similar items marketed at men.
During a debate in the House of Commons, she said: “It could be argued that some products for women have additional design and performance features, and that others are priced individually based on factors including formulation, ingredients and market comparison.
“Of course, a women’s jumper might be made with better-quality fabric, and a men’s jumper might be made with cheaper material, but The Times’ study indicates that that is often not the case. Frequently, the only difference between the two products is the colour.”
She is now calling on the Government to request an independent analysis of gender pricing to try and get to the bottom of how much women are being charged so that they can make properly informed choices when they are shopping.
The Westminster Hall debate came as Boots agreed to withdraw two razors and eye cream aimed specifically at women and charge a rate equivalent to that of similar men’s items.
Ms Sherriff said: “The onus is now on other retailers to do the same.
“There is a sense that exploitation is going on.”
However the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities and Family Justice, Caroline Dinenage, said that this was not an issue that the Government needed to get involved in and women had the power to influence stores with how they shop.
She also said that the British Retail Consortium have not had female-orientated pricing raised by their members either.
She said: “I am happy to keep a very close eye on the issue raised today, but I fundamentally feel that is up to us all as intelligent, questioning consumers to demand an explanation from retailers and manufacturers for the different prices, if we have questions or concerns.”
However Ms Sherriff said the Government does have a role to play, and asked her again to consider the analysis on the cumulative impact of pricing on women.