City Paper is not for tourists
When you go to the mall to buy, say, a T-shirt, you naturally head for either the men’s or women’s department. And if you’re a guy, you probably buy that shirt for less than what women would pay for the same item. Former New York Newsday consumer affairs reporter Frances Whittesley and D.C.-based researcher Marcia Carroll, who works with the Nader-affiliated Center for the Study of Responsive Law, indict discriminatory sales policies in their Women Pay More (And How to Put a Stop to It) (The New Press). The authors assert that women suffer inequities from the garment rack to the used-car lot, and that the unequal treatment is so routine that it’s taken for granted. Their book moves beyond a previous edition, Why Women Pay More, and cites information from Nina Easton’s Women Take Charge, to offer constructive steps people can take to end price-gouging. Included are such strategies as documenting what mechanics say, getting second opinions, establishing business relationships with aboveboard shops, and checking (and, if necessary, filing complaints) with oversight agencies including the Better Business Bureau. Also touted are such innovations as a garage in Tucson, Ariz., founded by feminist Sherry Rees and catering to female and male drivers equally. “Women are just not aware of the gender-pricing discrepancy,” explains co-author Carroll. But, she adds, when provided with evidence of the imbalance, it’s crucial to insist that hairstylists, clothiers, mechanics, and launderers stop taking women to the cleaner’s.