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Does it cost more to be a woman?

Updated on September 30, 2012
This haircut? Free!
This haircut? Free!


Does it cost more to be a woman?

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Take a look at the photo at the right. I got 12 inches of my hair chopped off for Locks for Love, and my dormmate was generous enough to make the cut... for free!

Ok. Normally I do pay for my haircuts... but I go to SuperCuts or Great Cuts or some place like that, and if my boyfriend and I go at the same time, he doesn't pay that much less than me (considering I have a lot more hair than he does)... sometimes we pay the same!

I bring this up because I just read an article by MP Dunleavy about "Why it costs more to be a woman." Some of the points she brings up include:

  • Certain consumer items simply cost more for women, such as Nivea body wash; the bottle designated for women's needs costs $2 more than the one for men
  • Many insurance companies will charge women higher premiums
  • Women are more likely to carry subprime mortgages
  • Women still make less than men on the dollar

As soon as I saw this title on MSN, I could feel disagreement bubbling up inside of me. I continued to disagree after I read the article, too. I talk about this issue a lot with my partner, and it usually seems like men pay more for things. When we go shopping for clothes, it's easy to find women's apparel that is extremely cheap; Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, and H&M are just a few examples of stores that primarily carry women's clothing and that have almost ridiculous sales. In clearance sections, I can pick up shoes for less than $5, shirts for $3, and pants for $10 or less. Even clothes that aren't on sale are pretty inexpensive.

Meanwhile, when we shop for clothes for the man, it's difficult to find anything that cheap, especially fancier clothing. When I can go to Bloom and find a shiny, pretty dress for $10, the shoes alone will cost much more for men.

My brother complains about the higher costs of car insurance for men. Everyone knows that males have to pay more when they're under 25, and transgressions result in even higher payments.

I think what Dunleavy is really getting at is that many women fall victim to gender norms and feel pressured to look their best at home and at work, resulting in their paying more for basic things like haircuts, clothes, and so on. The nicer items I do have, like a Tiffany necklace, are gifts from my boyfriend, anyway!

Of course, ladies are bound to bring up the fact that we pay for women's sanitary items and other products for female issues. But there are certainly items that only men need.

Also, men will argue that for a night out, men will pay for cover charges while women will often get in free. Sometimes, women will even get free drinks...

Bottom line, as a woman, I feel like I get off pretty easy a lot of the time, if not the same as the guys.

I'd love to get your input on this! Thank you!


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    • Frangipanni profile image


      5 years ago

      I agree. I love your hubs especially the one to teach your children to be financially independent and the glass marble magnets. Have voted up and now following.

    • healthwealthmusic profile image

      Ruth R. Martin 

      6 years ago from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York

      I think it is our own choice to be more expensive than men. There are several places I can think of where my husband does pay more for his clothing. His jackets, jeans, and work shoes are almost always bought new, and cost a pretty penny. Since he works as a carpenter, he wears them out fast as has to buy more often. I shop at second-hand stores and find lots of nice things there. Generally not shoes though... but Walmart has some decent shoes for cheap... and makeup/skin care can be really expensive, but I have also found out that many of the cheaper brands work just as good :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like to be a woman all the time and do all the things woman do and go out as a woman to and do all the housework to.

    • profile image

      Credit Girl 

      8 years ago

      There really are a lot of financial differences between men and women. I really liked this infographic, even though it shows somewhat depressing statistics. Enjoy!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You have an interesting and enjoyable collection of topics.

      To answer this question, gender vs gender its probably even. If its an attractive women she'll get by cheaper. Sad but true.

    • Lady_E profile image


      8 years ago from London, UK

      It could cost more to be a woman but if you are wise with Finances and also have a nice personality - it shouldn't.

      A very unique Hub - enjoyed it. :)

    • theherbivorehippi profile image


      8 years ago from Holly, MI

      I certainly believe that it costs more to be a woman for sure!! I love your haircut in this pic by the way...I just cut my hair AGAIN to donate last week. I think our ponytails will match nicely. lol

    • John B Badd profile image

      John B Badd 

      8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      If you go off the basic need items women probably spend more. but as a man i know i spend more on food because i eat more. If you add in the price of dating or going out for drinks i know it cost me more. Womens clothes are cheaper but the buy way more of them and they tend to ware out faster because their usually thin material. Im wearing a t-shirt that is at least 3 years old right now and jeans over 2 years old.

      so when you break it down i think it depends on the person and what they need and what they think they need.

    • Lamme profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting hub. I think women generally spend more on personal items because we tend to (usually) put more value on that stuff. A lot of times, men just don't really get it, or care. I know that's not always the case.

    • boxxies profile image


      8 years ago

      I know that a haircut costs more for a woman


      Also, for dry cleaning a woman's coat vs.a man's coat.

      It's not right.


    • Beth Therese profile image

      Beth Therese 

      8 years ago from New York, NY

      Interesting points in this article! I just joined HubPages and will be reading your articles to get an idea of what quality Hubs can look like. (I mean that in a complimentary, not stalking, way). Cheers!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Companies get men and women through multiple means, if it isn't one thing it's another! Depending on how serious physical maintanence is to one it can be very expensive but thats for anyone man or woman.

    • electricsky profile image


      8 years ago from North Georgia

      The costs are purely up to the men or women and what they perceive they need and the various items. Haircuts- a woman could, based on her hairstyle easily go 4 - 6 months between haircuts. No way could a man, unless he just wore long hair. No comparison on men's shoes - they are much more expensive, however women tend to have many more pairs then men. What a good argument would be for the absolute necessities does it cost more for a women or a man. After that it's all pretty much an individual thing.

    • profile image

      Michael E. Horton 

      8 years ago

      nice hub page

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I think although women have lower price clothing items men's suits and pant last longer because of the higher craftmanship. They get free tailoring. Women's suits end up costing more because then we have to pay for tailoring. We have to buy makeup for the "professional" look that companies expect. We buy expensive clothes because our prospective employees look at the suits we buy and trust me people know quality. On a normal day I am a jean and Tshirt girl who go makeupless but when I have to work I have to purchase so much more things than a man to be competitive.

    • Jennifer Bennett profile image

      Jennifer Bennett 

      8 years ago

      Fub hub. I love reading it.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      I don't know where else to write this, so I am writing here if it's OK. Thank you for the clarification on my site. It all has to do with galloping senility, so I hoep that you will forgive :-))

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      I think that it is the "comfort shopping" that makes a lot of difference and women end up spending more. Women will go to a department store when they are upset. Men will sulk :-)

      And thank you for leaving a note on "Advice to Youth 2" :-)

      However, I am a shutterred shell of a man, because you did not bother to become a fan :-))

    • cupul profile image


      8 years ago from jakarta

      yeah it's interesting nice post girl!

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Northern California

      For sure!

    • kea profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting hub. It merely costs as much as you buy into the corporate brainwashing. I mean, do women really need a Louis Vuitton purse?

    • blondepoet profile image


      8 years ago from australia

      I feel I am pretty low maintenance as a woman. If any readers feel they could keep me please apply. :)

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you all for your comments! I agree, Sally, that the media and advertising have a lot to do with the costs people pay.

      BTW, I just spoke with a couple of married women at my workplace, and in speaking about their weddings, one shared that she spent $1,200 on her hair and makeup for her wedding! O.O

    • Moulik Mistry profile image

      Moulik Mistry 

      8 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

      I think it is so, nice hub...

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      This is really good food for thought. Men and women certainly spend money for different reasons and on different things, with men more likely to spend on longer-term investments than on daily needs. But does it inherently cost more to be one or the other? published a series lately called "Love and money -- oil and water?" One section is called "Gender spender: Sex sets your money DNA" and you can find it here:

      I'm inclined to think, because we live in an economy strongly driven by the advertising that conditioned us to either live up to or surpass the Jonses and now preys on that vulnerability of ours, that it costs about the same number of dollars to be either sex, but it costs more to be a woman because women's earnings are still devalued.

      Wonderful topic!

    • reinalisa1 profile image


      8 years ago

      I just read your hub on "Does It Cost More To Be A Woman. All I can say is OH YES and AMEN . . . YOU SAID IT SISTER !!! I just don't think the guys realize just HOW MUCH MORE. MAYBE SOME OF THE THINGS THEY MIGHT . . . BUT NOT ALL. Hopefully in the future, maybe we will get a bigger tax break or something! If you don't mind, I also read a few of your other hubs and I think they are Great ! I hope you don’t mind, and, with your blessing . . . I just became a fan/follower of yours. I can’t wait to read your future hubs! Thanks So Much. Reinalisa1

    • Epiphany99 profile image


      8 years ago from TN

      I would agree it does cost more to be a woman. I can recall women getting their hair and nails done for close to a $100 bucks easily. I just get a razor from Sam's Club and I am done in about 5 minutes...

    • mika ela profile image

      mika ela 

      8 years ago

      i think,both men and women's stuff are the same when it comes to costing.It only depends on who and what it is made of.A Woman can settle for sale items and get contented with it as long as it looks good when they're on it.For some reason, women are more practical than men; maybe becuase they are more involved and aware of how valuable money is....I can't really say who's things are much more expensive, it really depends on one's priority and outlook in life. Man and woman has all the choices, all they have to do is decide which to choose.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      I think men get away with murder. Their haircuts are cheaper, no lipstick, makeup, hair conditioner, styling or attention to things like glamour they way we do. We pay more because we look after our appearance more. Men are getting more metrosexual and beter at it, but they pay in different ways. Memberships, clubs, drink, cigarettes, other recreational stuff. Some men spend lots of clothes, but they are more likely to be while collar workers or professionals. Interesting hub!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 

      9 years ago from Oklahoma

      Our clothes cost a whole lot more. Women's panties are like $16 a pair a man's underwear costs like two dollars a piece.

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for all the input, everyone! Tim-tim and CMHypno, I think you sum up my POV pretty well on this issue. Linda, I think we think the same way about clothing and such :) Thanks for the compliment! Coach, I'm glad you enjoyed the article :) Mpurcell, I agree! Katy, well said!

    • profile image

      Linda Myshrall 

      9 years ago

      First, let me say your haircut is *adorable* and you can't beat the price ;)

      I would say that the answer would depend on one's lifestyle. My sister can take the cost of being a woman to epic proportions, while yours truly tends to be an au-naturale type gal. Her shoes? $180 bucks. Mine? $30 on a 'fancy' day. And don't even get me started on make-up, wardrobe, yadda, yadda, yadda.

      Her husband is the same way she is.

      So I would say, when comparing my husband to her, it definitely costs more to be a woman than a man.

      When comparing myself to my sister's husband, then vice-versa...

      Best guess... It probably costs the average woman more than the average man.

      By the way, nice work on this article.

    • Coach Albert profile image

      Coach Albert 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      As a man, I can say I like how fair minded this article was. I surfed it expecting some man-bashing to come crashing down, but I was pleasantly surprised. I would have to say each gender has it's advantages and disadvantages. I'm bald so I only pay $12 to $20 to just shave my hair off, while my wife has to spend a considerable amount more. Still, when I was single I had to budget for dinner dates and going out and can only think of a couple of times in many, many years that a woman offered to pay for me. The argument also used to be made that men make more and, unfortunately, that disparity is still around in many industries, but in this economy I think everybody is hurting. I just wish the cost of a decent pair of mens jeans would go back to what it used to be when I was a kid. I just tried to buy a pair at Macys a while back Yeek!! Cheers, -Coach

    • mpurcell10 profile image


      9 years ago from Arkansas

      Great hub. I still wouldn't want to be a man. The only time I get jealous of guys is when I have to use the restroom and we are driving in the middle of nowhere.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 

      9 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      In general, it costs more for a man to buy clothes,shoes, etc. However, it costs more to maintain being a woman. We tend to spend a lot more on hightlight, lowlights, hair color, makeups, moisturizer, etc. I guess we kind of even out.

    • katyzzz profile image


      9 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      It certainly does, women require more fancy clothes whereas a man just looks good in his suit or some well chosen casual clothes, plus there is the price at the pharmacy if you know what I mean.

    • CMHypno profile image


      9 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      I think it depends on what type of woman you are. It's expensive to be a designer brands/beauty treatments type of woman, but I know lots of men that spend a lot of money on clothes, expensive cars and the latest gadgets.

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you Aya and Hello, hello! I agree that generally a lot of the extra costs of being a woman are for superficial items like make-up and designer labels. Less is more!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      I the high cost come from the women because they wouldn't buy anything unless with a designer label even if it rubbish most of the time. Thanks for brilliant hub

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      (Sorry. Double clicked.)

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Glassvisage, great hub. I have always been able to live on a lot less than most people do. I only had my hair professionally styled once in my life -- and that was when I hoped to run for office. Other than that, I always cut my own hair. I don't wear makeup. I buy my clothes at WalMart. I keep old clothes until pants get a hole in the knee, and even then, I may keep using them at home.

      Of course, I spend twelve hours locked in a cage with a chimpanzee, and he isn't wearing anything at all. So part of the issue is: who do you have to impress?


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