Parents are being hit by a ‘pink tax’ and regularly forking out more for clothes and toys aimed at girls rather than boys, a study has revealed.
Researchers have uncovered a ‘gender price gap’ in kids’ clothes and toys with stores charging more for almost identical items depending on whether it is targeted at girls or boys.
The research, carried out by parenting site ChannelMum.com ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, revealed nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of parents believe girls’ clothes cost more than boys.
For example, a blue and green striped jacket from George at Asda costs £8-£9 for 1-6-year-olds but rises to £10-£12 for a pink one, an increase of almost a third.
A pack of boys’ briefs in Marks and Spencer will set parents back £4-£7, while the same number of girls’ briefs will amount to £6-£8.
It is not just clothes either. A pair of blue inline roller skates in Argos cost £7.99 while the pink pair rises to £10.99, which equates to around 37 per cent more.
But girls aren’t always paying more, with a pair of white skinny jeans from River Island priced at £20 for boys but just £16 for girls, a 25 per cent increase.
Over half (58 per cent) of parents reckon they have to pay more for accessories aimed at young girls while 52 per cent believe the cost of a girl’s coat is often higher than one for a boy.
T-shirts and tops (37 per cent), nightwear (21 per cent) and underwear (17 per cent) are also among the items of clothing parents believe are priced higher for girls.
By contrast, boys are charged more for shoes, something that has been noticed by 28 per cent of parents, and jeans (44 per cent).
On average, girls’ items were priced at 21 per cent higher than the equivalent item for boys, but the items where boys were charged more averaged just 13.5 per cent more expensive.
Worryingly, the gender price gap begins when children are as young as 12 months, with 71 per cent of parents who have seen a difference claiming those with girls are forced to pay more.
Previous studies have shown adult women are regularly charged more for items ranging from razors to dry cleaning, something critics refer to as the ‘pink tax’.
MPs have debated clamping down on the practice for adults and now a huge 97 per cent of the 1,156 parents polled want gender-based pricing for children’s items stamped out too.
Over half (55 per cent) are calling for it to be made illegal, while 42 per cent back a voluntary code of conduct for retailers and manufacturers.
Almost three in five think gender pricing is simply a ‘rip off’ by retailers designed to hit parents, with 55 per cent claiming stores believe parents will pay more for girls’ items.
A further 56 per cent believe retailers make it difficult to compare prices by dividing items into ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ sections, with 37 per cent saying they would back moves to make all kids’ items ‘gender-neutral‘.
As a result, a third of mums and dads are shunning stores using gender-based pricing.
Speaking about the findings, Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum.com, said: “Treating baby girls as a commodity to be exploited aged just 12 months old is terrible.
“The so-called ‘pink tax’ is bad enough for adult women but a pink tax for tots is just plain wrong.
“There’s simply no justification for charging more based on gender. An item which is the same or similar should have the same or a similar price tag, regardless of which gender wears or uses it.
“Luckily parents are becoming more and more aware of the practise which should mean more firms becoming reluctant to do it.”
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