January 28, 2013
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A WAR of the sexes has broken out over the huge difference in cost for similar haircuts for men and women.
Women’s advocates have slammed unequal pricing, calling it unfair and sexist.
In Denmark, a hairdresser was recently fined $422 for charging a female client $11 more for a cut than a male. Any price difference in haircuts based purely upon the sex of the customer was ruled illegal.
Women’s advocate Melinda Tankard Reist said it was unfair that women were charged more.
“I think prices should be more equal where a basic standard cut is all that is requested,” Ms Reist said.
“Australia can learn from Denmark’s progressive attitudes to gender issues.”
University of Melbourne gender researcher Dr Lauren Rosewarne said that historically, there was a cultural assumption that women would pay more for certain luxury goods.
“We should always be concerned if men and women are being treated differently: charging them more, paying them less, or favouring one gender over another in offering them better opportunities,” she said.
This week the Herald Sun performed an experiment, sending a man and a woman in their 20s, with short brown hair of a similar length, for haircuts in Melbourne’s CBD.
Technology strategist Soren Reichelt, 27, was charged $67 for a standard cut, while tour operator Monique Fabris, 26, was charged $92 for the same haircut.
Both haircuts took 40 minutes to complete.
“The haircut was OK, but nothing special; it was just a trim,” Ms Fabris said.
“But it’s ridiculous to charge someone $92.
“I think it’s unfair that women are charged so much more than men for the same service,” she said.
“We both just got trims – nothing very difficult or elaborate.”
But hairdressers hit back, saying the charge was warranted as women’s styling was more technical and time-consuming.
Hair and Beauty Industry Association chief executive Sandra Campitelli said variations in pricing were to do with salon locations and the time involved to complete the service.
“It is not based on gender. It is based on overheads and the cost of delivering the service.”