Why Are Women Getting Taken to the Cleaners?

The search for gender equality extends to the cost of dry cleaning

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Why Are Women Getting Taken to the Cleaners?

 The search for gender equality extends to the cost of dry cleaning

-Megan Southwick

dry cleaningOur country has made huge strides in equal rights for women over the years – we won the right to vote, we’ve got female CEOs, our Speaker of the House is a woman , and we even had a woman nearly become our president this year! And finally, our employers are legally bound to pay us the same as our male counterparts.

So just why then, are we still paying more for our freaking laundry then men are?

Ladies, we are getting taken to the cleaners on our dry-cleaning bills – just because we’re Bettys!

Last year, the Department of Consumer Affairs for New York City issued 12 gender-pricing violations – at least three of which went to dry cleaners in the city. And those only go out when someone reports a problem, like Janet Floyd did.

As reported in The New York Times, Janet (a fellow Betty if there ever was one!) first noticed the problem when she took two nearly identical shirts to her local cleaner for laundering. The only difference? One was hers, one was her husband’s. Even though her husband’s shirt was much larger than hers, the cost to clean his was a full $1.75 less! When she inquired about the cost difference, she was told that her shirt had been dry cleaned, while his had simply been laundered – even though the material was the same, and the colors were the same. Apparently the company simply “does not launder women’s shirts.”

So Janet took charge, and began calling cleaners all over the city, surveying and analyzing their prices, posting the results to her website.

She found that although women and men paid basically the same rates for dry cleaning, when it came to laundering, women almost always paid twice as much as men! The excuse given by the companies? Oh, it’s so simple! Their pressing machines are only made to press men’s shirts, so all women’s garments have to be pressed by hand. Woe is me – perhaps they should invest in one of the pressing machines made to fit women’s garments that costs less than half that of the man-sized pressers?

Excuses, excuses. It seems that this is one area where we have yet to even crack the glass ceiling.

I’m curious – how does it work where you live? Have you found these same discrepancies? Does it extend to other things, like tailoring? Let us know!

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0 thoughts on “Why Are Women Getting Taken to the Cleaners?

  1. “And finally, our employers are legally bound to pay us the same as our male counterparts.”

    Finally? Equal pay for equal work has been the law since the 1960s (see the Equal Pay Act of 1963). The Ledbetter Act altered the statute of limitations.

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