Georgette fait l’édito du New York Times



The Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL

A version of this editorial appears in print on November 13, 2014, in The International New York Times.


The French feminist collective Georgette Sand — named after the French novelist who wrote under the pseudonym George Sand — has drawn attention to a shopping injustice: sexist pricing policies. In a petition that has attracted more than 40,000 signatures, the group accuses the Monoprix supermarket chain of marking up goods for women. A packet of five pink disposable razors, for instance, was priced at 1.80 euros, or about $2.25, while a packet of 10 blue disposable razors was priced at €1.72.

France’s secretary of state for women’s rights, Pascale Boistard, wrote a message on Twitter in support of the collective, asking, “Le rose est-il une couleur de luxe?” (Is pink a luxury color?) The Finance Ministry hasordered an inquiry into possible price discrimination, not just at Monoprix but at French retailers generally.

Of course, this problem exists outside of France. In 2010, Consumer Reports found that drugstores set higher prices for products directed at women. At Walgreens, for example, Excedrin Complete Menstrual cost 50 cents more than Excedrin Extra Strength, even though both contained the same ingredients in the same quantities. In 2011, researchers at the University of Central Florida found that women paid more for deodorants, razors and body spray sold at national retailers.

Monoprix has claimed that men’s razors are cheaper because they sell faster and because they’re less costly to make. Perhaps the inquiry will exonerate the chain, though it is hard to believe that all price differentials for seemingly identical products can be explained away like that. On its Woman Tax tumblr, Georgette Sand posts photographs of male and female products side by side revealing a markup for items like toothbrushes, backpacks and fragrances.

In the absence of legislative relief, women might want to consider shopping in the men’s aisle.

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