The Gender Spending Gap

This past week my filter bubble has been exploding with reposts of Susan Fowler and other stories of women experiencing sexual harassment at Uber.  The inequities of being a professional woman in today's society go well beyond sexual harassment or the gender pay gap.  

(Disclaimers: 1 - Gender cannot be simplified into two categories male and female and I apologize to those who are offended by this oversimplification.  My intent is not to alienate.  2 - I apologize to the hardworking men for whom these statistics are not true.)

Here are some basic metrics to highlight some of the economic realities of being a young urban professional woman.


How bad can it be?


MEN - $12,000 / year

$1,000 / month

WOMEN - $15,600 / year

$1,300 / month

Why?  Maybe to live in a safer neighborhood.  On average women spend 39% of their income on housing. (1)

(1) An article from psychology today about what singles spend their money on.

More on housing inequality.  There's also a spending gap on housing in the UK.


Men - $200 / YEAR

$0/year At least in San Francisco, free t-shirts dominate the male wardrobe

Women - $1,000 / YEAR

$1,000 / year Spending on Professional Dress


Even men's designer duds are cheaper.


Men - $150 / year

WOMEN  - $1,200 / year

More on product cost comparisons between men's product and women's products.


Men - $120 / year

$12/month IF they buy condom

Women - $220 / year

$10/month in Tampons/Pads
$100/year Birth Control (IUDS up to $800 without the ACA)


MEN - $2,400/ year

$200 / month Public Transit




WOMEN  -  $3,600 / year

$10/day Transportation for a safe ride home in the evenings.  

A woman was raped entering her home 1 block from my previous work place.  Most women I spoke to at that job took public transit in the mornings and Uber or Lyft in the evenings to get home.  Even if women take public transit, there are much more likely to have expenses for ride home.

Student Debt

Men - $0 / Year (see statistic below)

27% of men do have over $30,000 in Student Debt, this is largely a minority figure.

WOMEN - $4,800 / Year

$400 / month Student Debt Repayments. 

Almost 50% of women have over $30,000 in student debt.  Women carry a heavier burden when it comes to educational loan repayment.

Learn more about the gender divide in student debt statistics.

Let's add it up - ANnual Spending

(not including: insurance, taxes, healthcare, and other necessities)

Men - $14,000+ / Year

Women - $26,000+ / Year

Other things I'm not including in this metric are costs incurred over the longer term include: mortgages, cars, etc.  Some of these are discussed in this article.

The metrics in this article are estimations, everyone's finances are different.


Men - $120,000 / Year EngineeR BASE Salary

Women - $65,000 / year Designer BASE Salary


While we keep making direct comparisons between what men and women get paid for doing the same job, we neglect to look at the reality of female vs male dominated occupations.  My argument here is that we should be making realistic comparisons centered around what people are doing rather than what they could be doing.

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FashionLeanne LuceWomen