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Inflation Has Further Exposed Gender Stereotypes



Even in 2022, gendered stereotypes are hard to escape.

An online finance magazine, Sophisticated Investor, asked Americans their observations on inflation. Their research supports earlier findings on how women often experience financial anxiety more than men and helps explain why that happens.

In early May, pollsters surveyed more than 2,000 adults and found that, overall, respondents agreed that they experienced worse inflation at the grocery store. But this was even more true for women; according to the survey, “women find that their grocery bills have been hardest hit by inflation.”

But men disagreed. They are much more likely to say inflation has been worse at the gas pump.

“The fact that more women than men claim to have experienced inflation the most when buying groceries is consistent with gender-based stereotypes of women being the primary caregiver in families burdened with domestic chores and labor,” wrote the Sophisticated Investor’s financial writer Liam Hunt. “The same is true for men, who are subject to traditional gender roles and stereotypes that have them driving to and from their jobs.”

So which category is actually experiencing the most inflation, food or gas? The right answer changes month to month. In April grocery costs increased while gas decreased. But in March, gas increased significantly more than groceries.

Stereotyped responsibilities bring more stress

Wherever inflation is increasing the most, women often feel more anxiety over inflation.

The Pew Research Center found that, with or without kids, women do more of the grocery shopping and food prep than their male partners.

Being expected to do the majority of shopping means women spend more time in stores, so they’re more likely to notice changes in pricing. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), a non-profit organization, says that because women are in stores more often, they feel the stress of inflation more intensely.

Women also have to spend more on non-durable goods, like Tampons and diapers, which have also risen in cost.

Findings from the National Bureau of Economic Research support Sophisticated Investor and the IWPR. They found that women are more anxious about inflation and how it could increase in the future because they’re exposed to volatile prices.

Their study showed that in households where shopping responsibilities were shared equally between partners, there was little to no difference in perceptions of inflation.

“Traditional gender roles expose women to different information about prices than men,” researchers conclude. “Differences in women’s and men’s daily environments can have significant consequences for their beliefs.”

No one is really off the hook

At the end of the day, anyone with a lower income is going to feel inflation worse than those who are wealthier. Most low and middle-income people have felt the worst of 2022’s record-high inflation. As previously reported, “the most broke and wealthiest Americans are both stressed over inflation.”

But the IWPR refers to COVID’s economic impact as the “she-cession.” They explained that the pandemic had the worst impact on women in low-wage jobs, Black women, and immigrant women.

Inflation especially hurts people in debt or with fixed incomes, populations made up disproportionately of women. Women hold nearly two-thirds of the nation’s student loan debt and according to the IWPR, women are more likely to receive Social Security benefits and typically earn less than men who receive benefits.

While inflation may feel more extreme for women, high costs have everyone stressed. Quote Wizard, an insurance comparison platform from LendingTree, analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

They found that regardless of gender, 60 percent of people said that inflation has made it “difficult” to keep up with their usual household expenses.

And 15 percent are having a “very difficult” time, meaning expenses have gone up by up to 200 percent for some households.

If you’re struggling with your budget, you’re certainly not alone. has coupons for day-to-day items and tips on how to budget through difficult times.

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