Ahead of Women’s Equality Day: Maloney, Casey Release “Earn Less, Pay More” Report

Aug 24, 2018
Press Release
Following Bicameral Request, GAO Produces Study Highlighting Gender-Related Price Differences, Particularly in Mortgage & Auto-Lending Rates, Personal Care Products

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of Women’s Equality Day, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) have released a report detailing the alarming extent to which women in America continue to pay more for goods and services, despite earning less for equal work. The study, which was requested by Casey and Maloney in August of 2016, has just been completed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and highlights a number of disturbing cost discrepancies, including in mortgages, automobile loans, and in personal care products.

“This targeted, thoroughly researched study from the GAO sheds light on the differences in costs for men and women in a number of areas, including financial services transactions – which are far less transparent and often come with a high price tag,” said Rep. Maloney and Sen. Casey. “This report shows that in ways both large and small, women are disadvantaged in a variety of markets. With women being paid on average 80 cents for every dollar paid to a man, this is a financial hit women cannot and should not have to take. We will continue to focus on this important issue and pursue action toward achieving equality for men and women in the purchase of goods and services.”


Key Findings:

Personal Care Products

GAO reviewed a sample of 10 common personal care products that are marketed and packaged differently for men and women, comparing prices paid at the register and online advertised prices.

GAO found that:

  • For half of the products compared, women’s versions cost more than men’s. The remaining products either were more expensive for men or there was no difference.


Financial Products and Services

GAO reviewed academic literature in four financial products and services that are not differentiated by gender: mortgages, small business credit, auto purchases, and auto repairs. While GAO was unable to generalize findings due to limitations of the research, what is available appears to indicate price disparities in various products. Some discrepancies are direct, others appear to stem from the pervasive wage gap between men and women – showing how the wage gap can impact household finances, such as increased borrowing costs.


The academic research surveyed found that:

  • “Men and women paid or were quoted different prices for auto purchases and auto repairs”
  • Women may pay more for home mortgages relative to their risk profile. and that “women—particularly African American women—were more likely to have subprime loans.”
  • Women-owned businesses have higher loan denial rates and “newer female-owned firms received significantly lower loan amounts than requested compared to their male-owned counterparts.”


A full copy of the report can be found here.