In Brief

High street stores 'charge women twice as much as men'

Campaigners call for end of 'sexist' prices as clothes, toiletries and toys aimed at women are found to be more expensive

High street stores are charging women up to twice as much as men for practically identical products, according to a new investigation by the The Times.

In what the newspaper describes as indicative of the "sexist" high street, analysis of hundreds of products revealed the cost of clothes, beauty products and toys for girls and women is higher than equivalent items marketed at boys and men.

Tesco was found to charge double the price for ten disposable razors - the only difference being the colour  – while at Argos, blue children's scooters were found to be £5 cheaper than the identical pink versions.

Elsewhere, a range of Bic For Her pens were priced £2.99, 99p more than the plain black ballpoint, and at Boots, 100ml of Chanel's Allure spray deodorant cost £30 compared to just £23.50 for the men's version.

In general, across all equivalent products with different prices, those marketed at women were 37 per cent more expensive.

The companies face being called to parliament to explain the vast price differentials, says the Daily Telegraph.

"It is unacceptable that women face higher costs for the same products just because they are targeted at women," Maria Miller, who leads the Commons' women and equalities committee, told the Times.

"Retailers have got to explain why they do this. At a time when we should be moving towards a more de-gendered society, retailers are out of step with public opinion."

Sam Smethers, of the Fawcett Society campaign group for women's rights, said: "This investigation is really quite shocking. What we are seeing is a sexist surcharge. We need more gender-neutral options and an end to these rip-off practices."

In response to the claims, Tesco said: "We work hard to offer clear, fair and transparent pricing. A number of products for females have additional design and performance features. We continually review our pricing strategy."

A Boots spokesman said: "Our products are priced based on factors including formulation, ingredients and market comparison."

Argos did not comment.

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