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Two-thirds of parents say they have noticed a 'gender price gap' on the high street, with retailers charging significantly more for clothing and toys aimed at young girls.
The research, part of a price check exercise by parenting website ChannelMum.com, stated that parents felt their children were being targeted with a ‘pink tax'. This starts from as young as 12 months, parents said.
It was also revealed that there is the same percentage of pink tax, 21 per cent, for toddlers and young girls as there is for grown women purchasing things such as razors and dry cleaning.
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."
Three in five parents surveyed thought that gender pricing is a ‘rip off’ by retailers designed to hit parents and fifty-five per cent believe stores expect parents to 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’.
The price check exercise showed multiple examples of how retailers are charging higher prices for clothes and toys marketed to young girls. Stores that came under fire included Argos, Asda and Matalan.
The Asda ‘boys' resistant striped hooded jacket’, for children aged one to six years, is priced at £8-£9, but their ‘girls' cat and dog printed hooded mac’, which is very similar, costs £10-£12. This is a significant price gap of £2-£3.
Another example is a t-shirt at Matalan. The ‘boys' epic vibes t-shirt’ for children aged four to 13 years, costs £3.50-£4.50, with the 'girls' slogan t-shirt' for the same age, ranging between £4-£5. A 50p difference, again for a very similar item.
One of the most striking examples though was a pair of pink skates from Argos that were identical to blue ones in the same catalogue. These cost a surprising £3 extra in the pink colour marketed at girls.
Ms Freegard believes parents are becoming savvier when it comes to gender-based pricing. She explained: “Luckily parents are becoming more and more aware of the practice which should mean more firms becoming reluctant to do it.”
Over half of those parents surveyed are calling for the practice be made illegal. Another 42 per cent of parents backed a voluntary code of conduct for retailers and manufacturers.