Have you ever noticed that toys and clothes for girls seem to be more expensive than those aimed at boys?
If so, you're not alone. Two thirds of parents have noticed a kids ‘gender pay gap’ with stores charging more for almost identical items depending on whether they're aimed at girls or boys.
Worryingly, the gender price gap begins when children are as young as 12 months, with 71 per cent of parents claiming they are forced to pay more for items for girls.
The research, carried out by parenting site ChannelMum.com ahead of International Women’s Day (March 8th), found a blue and green striped jacket from George at Asda costs £8-£9 for 1-6-year-olds, but a similar jacket in pink rises to £10-£12 in the same store.
When it comes to underwear, a pack of boy’s briefs in Marks and Spencer will set parents back £4-£7, while the same number of girl’s briefs will amount to £6-£8.
And it's not just clothes – pair of blue inline roller skates in Argos costs £7.99, while the pink pair rises to £10.99.
According to the research, girls aren’t always paying more, however. A pair of white skinny jeans from River Island are priced at £20 for boys but just £16 for girls.
But fifty-eight 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.
By contrast, boys are charged more for shoes, noticed by 28 per cent of parents, and jeans (44%).
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.
Previous studies have shown adult women are regularly charged more for items ranging from razors to dry cleaning in a move called the ‘pink tax’ - with the same average price gap of 21 per cent as female toddlers and young girls.
MPs have debated clamping down on the practice for adults and now a huge 97 per cent of the 1,156 parents polled by ChannelMum.com want gender-based pricing for children’s items stamped out too.
Fifty-five 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 which use gender-based pricing and 22 per cent have ‘named and shamed’ firms using gender-based pricing on social media.
However, 15 per cent also believe stores are beginning to end gender-pricing discrimination as parents are becoming wise to the practice.
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.”
We'd love to hear your thoughts on this story. Do you notice that items for girls cost more than those for boys? Or do you overcome this by going for gender-neutral toys and clothes where possible? Leave us a comment her or come and join the conversation over on our Facebook page.
And don't forget to take part in our pink tax poll!