As insurance quotes become gender neutral, we look at other areas of spending such as food and clothingHair salons charge up to £30 more for women than men. Wilkinson Sword razors for women are 30% more than the men's. But Nivea charges twice the price for its "male" moisturiser than for the "female" equivalent. To celebrate the launch of gender equality in financial services, Money explored other areas of spending to find out if there's discrimination – and after crunching the numbers found the cost of being a woman is (mildly unscientifically) 6% more than a man
.ClothesSome retailers charge different prices for near identical items, depending on whether you are in the men's or the women's sections. You might think that men's clothes should cost more as they are likely to involve more material, and this is the case at some shops – at Uniqlo, for instance, skinny jeans are £5 more, a cashmere sweater £10 more. However, other retailers charge women more: at Next, for example, you will pay £24 for a "supersoft robe" dressing gown, while a man's is £22. Women's Levi's jeans are £20 more than the £70 for men's 501s.Overall, where there was a difference, if you bought the same number of identical garments, you would pay more as a man. This seems to be borne out by transaction data from Barclaycard which shows that amongst its customers, women spend an average of £59 a time on clothes, while for men it is £65.But across the course of a year, women do have a much bigger outlay. The latest ONS survey on household spending shows that in 2011 it was an average £244 a year on men's clothes, against an average of £458 on women's clothes. Women's shoes accounted for £109 a year, while men's cost £68. Men's accessories cost £10 a year, while women's £21. Add this all up and on average women are spending £588 a year on their wardrobes, while men are shelling out £322.Single-sex spendingThe ONS also has data for the cost of underwear – and it may not be a surprise that household spending on women's underwear is higher, at an average of £57.20 a year versus £26 for men. A trip to Marks & Spencer established that men's pants cost more than knickers, but women face additional costs for tights and bras.A survey earlier this year suggested the average woman has nine bras in her underwear drawer – even if you go for Marks & Spencer's basic two-pack of white bras, that means an outlay of almost £70, and you will need to replace them at some point.Another item women will have to buy purely because of their gender is sanitary products. The average women has periods for at least 30 years of her life and the average cycle is 28 days, so she has 13 a year. Assuming her period lasts five days and she uses four sanitary towels a day, that's 260 a year. A packet of 26 Always Ultra costs £3.85 in Boots, so that adds up to £38.50 a year, or at least £1,155 over a lifetime. For tampons (assuming 20 cost £1.99) the outlay is likely to be around £776 over 30 years.For many women, the cost of make-up adds a considerable amount each month. The ONS says £2.70 a week, or £140 a year, is spent on cosmetics. Men might argue that they need to buy razors, but so do many women – and they tend to cost more.At Boots, a pack of 10 Wilkinson Sword razors aimed at the female market cost £4.39 – £1.30 more than a similar product aimed at men.The cost of living (longer)There are other costs that are dictated by nature. Women, for example, are advised to have an average calorie intake of 2,000 a day, while a man needs 2,500 to maintain his weight, so men need 25% more calories every day.This will not necessarily cost 25% more – you can bulk up a meal by throwing in more of the cheaper staples such as pasta and rice etc, but it will add to the cost. A survey of US office workers found that men who bought takeaway sandwiches were spending almost double on lunch each week than their female counterparts.Women are also advised to drink less – two to three units a day against the three or four guideline for men. A bottle of wine at 13.5% alcohol contains 10.13 units. If it costs £4.99, assuming you have the maximum each day, as a woman you will spend £1.47 and as a man £1.96. That's a big assumption – many people drink less, some more.One big thing to remember is that although alcohol may be a preservative, women are likely to live longer, and will therefore have to meet their living costs for more years. In 2010 the average life expectancy at birth was 82 for women and 78 for men: that means forking out for food, heating, travel, entertainment, for four extra years.The change to annuity rates brought in by the gender directive means that women will get the same income as a man, regardless of the fact that they are expected to live longer, but they will need to factor these years of extra spending into their other savings.HaircutsAsk most men how much they pay for a haircut and they'll probably say around a tenner at their local barber. Unless they are friends with a hairdresser, woman will usually spend at least double that. This will be in part because they go to different places for their cuts, but even if a man and women walked in to the same salon the woman would probably end up paying more.Many salons have stopped pricing according to sex but some quote different costs according to the length of hair, which means women are likely to end up spending more.In Supercuts, for example, prices are advertised as starting from £13.95 for a cut and £16.95 for a cut and wash. At my local salon the hairdresser said a man would pay £16.95 or £18.95, while a cut and shampoo of my shoulder-length hair would cost £23.90.At Nicky Clarke's salons in London and Manchester women pay quite a bit more for a wash and cut, unless it is being done by Clarke himself. A cut by the style director at the London salon is £105 if you are female and £75 if a male, while in Manchester women pay £65, men £50.By this point you may well be shouting "I need to buy razors far more often than my girlfriend" or "I have to spend on my hair, you're a baldie", and of course your individual circumstances will affect your spending habits and needs – or you may have other examples of instances where pricing is different for each sex.Give us your thoughts at guardian.co.uk/money or email email@example.com Consumer affairsInsuranceWomenRetail industryHilary Osborneguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
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