|LORI HINNANT, Associated Press|
The question was first taken up by a group of French activists inspired by a study that found American women overpay hundreds of dollars a year for the same products. The activists persuaded the
A quick look by The Associated Press at haircut prices and store aisles in
"Honestly, like many women I had noticed it and then I moved on to other things," Pascale Boistard,
The group took its cue from a
"It's a first victory if people are asking themselves the question when they walk into a store and compare prices," said
"The differences in price between products referenced for women and men can be explained by their intrinsic characteristics and their sales volumes," the company said in response to a petition signed by 40,000 consumers.
The CEO of L'Oreal, speaking at a press conference on the day the government announced its study, questioned the premise entirely, saying he thought people were "inventing something." And
That view got some legal backing elsewhere in
"We don't want to create a unisex world. It's boring and it's not accurate," said
"There are legal means to combat it," she said. "It's not easy, but they're there."
Boistard said she hoped the government would be able to put a response in place early in 2015.
"Men are afraid that we'll raise their prices to match those of women, but what we're hoping to do is bring more justice and normality to this," she said. "Women are consumers and citizens, and businesses have an interest in getting rid of injustices that affect them. There are things that can be settled without the law, without forcing it."
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