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Even On eBay, Women Get Paid Less For Their Labor (sciencemag.org) 335

sciencehabit writes: Women in the United States are paid only 79 cents on the dollar compared with men doing the same job. But at least gender melts away in the digital economy of the Internet, right? Nope. A study of more than 1 million auctions on the online commerce site eBay finds that women receive consistently less money than men for selling the very same products. T: The oft-cited "cents on the dollar" claims, though, ought perhaps be taken with a grain of salt; it depends who's counting, and what.
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Even On eBay, Women Get Paid Less For Their Labor

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  • New Owner (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Daimanta ( 1140543 )

    New owner, same third wave feminist bull.

  • Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

    by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @05:55PM (#51544533) Homepage Journal

    Obviously, people check the gender of the merchant before buying from them.

    • Re:Obviously (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:03PM (#51544611)
      I can't even think of a way to check the gender of the merchant.

      When I buy something on eBay I'm looking at item condition, item price, shipping price, sometimes originating location, and if there are any glaring negative reviews of the seller. I can't think of any circumstances in which I've not made a purchase based on the seller's username.

      I don't see how women are making less than men on eBay transactions specifically because of gender.
      • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:16PM (#51544707)

        I can't even think of a way to check the gender of the merchant.

        I can't even be sure of the species of some of them.

        • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:45PM (#51544939) Journal

          I can't even be sure of the species of some [merchants]

          I did check, and dogs are paid 43 cents on the dollar compared to human males. That's ruff.

        • If women are selling products for lower cost it may be because this is right price to earn the most money. On e-bay commonly the lowest priced item is the dominant seller. For hihg volume sellers the e-bay fees can become fixed costs. As a result the more you sell the lower your overhead and the higher the profit margin. So women may be higher volume sellers, getting more revenue and likely more profits as well.

      • Re:Obviously (Score:4, Informative)

        by F.Ultra ( 1673484 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:26PM (#51544771)

        Well this was in TFA:

        Researchers found that when the seller of these popular items was self-identified as female, the auction got fewer bids and a lower final price.

        So they where only looking at sellers that where clearly identified as females, I guess that also means that the comparison group then was both males and females but with user names and descriptions that didn't identify them as females.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Well, who wants the drama? I don't care if you're a woman, but I do care if you feel the need to tell me. Nothing good can come of that. Same with homosexuals, heterosexuals, religious people, atheists, vegans, etc.

        • This also raises the question: why the heck would an Ebay seller self-identify as a female? Or male for that reason? Why would you list personal information at all in your Ebay ad? What a stupid thing to do.

          I think I would also be willing to pay less for a product if the seller self-identified as female. Why? Simple: I would think they're an idiot for putting that kind of info out there.

          • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2016 @07:01PM (#51545083)

            I agree that representing your gender is 'immaterial' though not necessarily 'stupid' if you want to try to garner support from your gender or otherwise play on the expectation that 'helping women succeed based only on their gender is a good thing'...I just bought a bottle of CLR at Walmart & was surprised to see on the label 'Woman Owned'...when I saw that I thought 'Seriously, you want me to base a decision on that? As a man I'm insulted & I should just put this back to make a point'...given I wanted to try CLR for a while I bought it anyway but since it didn't exactly knock my socks off (nor worse or better than other cleaning products) I'm also just as inclined never to buy it again BECAUSE of that label...you can say I'm discriminating if you want but the company owners shouldn't be trying to use their gender as a means to expect me to buy their product...they want me to 'discriminate for them' and as such I'm perfectly comfortable using that against them.

            • listing unnecessary personal information to garner support just screams SCAM SCAM SCAM to me and I would definitely avoid.
          • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @07:56PM (#51545509)

            I think I would also be willing to pay less for a product if the seller self-identified as female.

            You should do the opposite, and there's a simple reason for that. According to mises.org (linked in the summary):

            Men make up 93 percent of workplace fatalities

            So you are more likely to receive your item if it's sold by a woman, since she's less likely to die before shipping it than a male.

            • Maybe, but perhaps not: if a woman is so stupid that she puts in her Ebay auction "look at me!!! I'm a woman!!! Buy from me!!" (instead of just keeping her gender out of it like most other people), she's probably dumb enough to be in that 7% of workplace fatalities which is female, according to your stat. After all, it's only a small minority of women who come out and say they're women in their Ebay ad.

              • by lucm ( 889690 )

                Read the article again. The theory of those two "researchers" is that people guess gender based on the username (with an accuracy of less than 60%), not that women put up signs saying "I'm a woman". And based on that guess people are allegedly paying less when it's possibly a woman.

                This is ludicrous but at the same time it's a positive thing. It means that as a society we basically ran out of gender-based inequalities (at least those impacting women) to a point where people have to make up bullshit theories

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Says the guy with a male username. Why did you self identify as male?

            Most people don't really think about this, as I'm sure you didn't when signing up. They just pick "amy82" or "johnkb" because it shouldn't matter. People don't expect gender discrimination on eBay.

        • Any seller that feels the need to identify themselves or there gender I would also be a little suspicious off and perhaps bid less on the item due to the perceived risk as why the fuck in this day and age would anyone do that on something like ebay.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dpidcoe ( 2606549 )
          That seems really weird to me, because in my experience playing EVE Online as a scammer (the gain-your-trust-and-exploit-it type scams, not the spam-contracts-in-local type scams), my female avatar had a 99.9% better success rate than my male avatar ever did. Granted I never did a remotely scientific comparison between the two (I used my male main character for a few days at first with no success, then switched over to the female alt, had success in the first hour, never looked back), but I always assumed a
      • Because women (generalizing here, there are also quite some business-savvy individuals) take less risk across the board. It's a biological difference which has evolutionary benefits.

        So women may price, market or promote things less aggressively than men (who subsequently may occasionally lose out on sales) and take less risk of not selling their product. This obviously results in lower income. The same goes for regular jobs; women will often stay at more convenient jobs and won't ask for a raise, thus keepi

    • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:12PM (#51544673)

      More to the point, I was under the understanding that the majority of online purchased are now made BY women.
      So, women are paying women less for items? Wow, do we need a whole new ism for that? ;)

      The usual 'lets make up some numbers and cry from the rooftop' bunk. The gender 'pay gap' has been
      solidly debunked (and in fact shown to be slightly pro-women) as soon as you include time in the job as
      a factor (which it most certainly needs to be).

      However, how about a little focus on something that IS real. The males excluded from teaching gap!
      Dont take my word for it, go and have a look at who is teaching our children. Equality? you better not
      be wanting any of THAT, men have been forced out in droves by exactly the people who are squealing
      for 'equality'. After all, hearts and minds people, get them while they are young!
      Over the top hyperbole? of course, but that seems to be the way this is played now, which is a great
      pity, but really, men have being actively pushed out of teaching at a huge rate, and no one cares?

      And lets not even go near mens health, death rates, the whitewashing of prostate cancer, etc. Lets
      just sweep that all under the carpet, what REALLY matters is making sure all CEOs are women! go team!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What's even sad is something like heart disease is now being gendered. http://www.burlingtoncoatfacto... [burlington...actory.com]

        I hear an asteroid is going to hit the Earth and kill all human inhabitants, women most affected.

      • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:40PM (#51544883)

        So, women are paying women less for items? Wow, do we need a whole new ism for that? ;)

        There is nothing new about this 'ism. Talk to any female manager, and most of them will tell you they have more problems with female subordinates than with male subordinates. If you want to see some real conflict, assign a young woman to manage older women. Groups of men/boys will naturally form hierarchies, and they don't have too much trouble fitting a woman into that system. Women/girls naturally form smaller non-hierarchical egalitarian groups, and they tend to resist any alpha-female trying to dominate.

        • Re:Obviously (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @08:16PM (#51545619)

          There is nothing new about this 'ism. Talk to any female manager, and most of them will tell you they have more problems with female subordinates than with male subordinates.

          My wife agrees. The men she supervised were in construction - hardly a bastion of SNAGS (Sensitive New Age Guys) The women? Sneaky, backstabbing and gossipy. The men loved her and did what they were told. The women? Well, one did. And she was another Alpha chick. The rest were more interested in who was supposedly laying who to get ahead, and "I hate that bitch, she's so skinny and pretty!"

          As I've noted before, at some point, some how some way, we're going to have to acknowledge that not only men have issues. Many women stand in the way of other women's success. How can that be fixed when we are only allowed to believe it is men.

      • But...but...but.....my soggy knees!

        I wonder what kind of ism's you are about to be accused of being?

      • by rayzat ( 733303 )
        In regards to the women on women ism. I heard an interview with Claudia Goldin, professor at Harvard who studies gender equality. She holds that most of the pay gap can be controlled for. The interesting part is when they came to that small part that remained the interviewer asked, if woman are the victim who is the oppressor? Goldin said the natural response is to look at it in the binary, if women are the victims then not women, or men, must be the oppressors, but this isn't the correct way to see it, bec
      • Re:Obviously (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Saturday February 20, 2016 @09:08AM (#51547943) Homepage

        The funny thing is that all the "crying from the rooftop" bullshit is here on Slashdot, not in the study. The study is an attempt to get some hard data that can help us understand the issue.

        The worst part is that you can never win with the anti-feminists. When data is presented it's misandry, when it's pointed out that women are part of the problem too it's misogyny as well. This is science, it doesn't take a position. I hate that Slashdot has become so anti-science.

  • Why are we not done with this SJW tripe?
  • by ThorGod ( 456163 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @05:58PM (#51544561) Journal

    For one, how do you know the sex of an ebay seller?

    For two, are we sure it's a significant difference?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:05PM (#51544617)

      The auctions set up by women are in comic sans.

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      Not eBay, but browsing TVs on Craigslist I once saw an ad for a very, very large tube TV that had a reflection of a naked woman on the glass. Given what the TV was priced-at it was probably prostitution using the sale of a useless TV as cover.
    • How do you know the sex of the seller? ...

      RTFA. This is of course the single most important pivot of the study, and obviously it's addressed by the researchers, and it's spelled out in paragraph 2 of the article.

      • by ThorGod ( 456163 )

        Just using clues like the names of the sellers and what other items they tended to sell, participants correctly guessed the gender of 56%, declared 35% unguessable, and got less than 9% wrong. So gender can come through if buyers are paying attention.

        Ok, read up on what you pointed out. 56% of the time is hardly enough to say "oh yeah they can definitely tell"

      • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:34PM (#51544839)

        And for something so pivotal it isn't particularly thorough.

        From TFA "To see whether gender was apparent in an eBay auction, they challenged 400 people to guess the gender of 100 randomly chosen sellers. Just using clues like the names of the sellers and what other items they tended to sell, participants correctly guessed the gender of 56%, declared 35% unguessable, and got less than 9% wrong"

        From that they get 44% incorrect. That is a fucking MASSIVE error level to apply to your stats. Particularly once you correct for other things and are claiming only a 3% differential.

        • by ThorGod ( 456163 )

          It's not a strong enough signal for the rest of their analysis...

        • Yeah, not only is that a massive error level, it is very close to random guessing's expected error level. You would expect them to be wrong 50% of the time on purely random guesses, so really this is only a deviation of 6% from expectation. And given they only used a small sample to do this test, probably within expecting sampling error. Since so much of this report relies on this being BUYER bias, they really did a poor job justifying that it could even be a bias. Despite them looking at auctions they d
          • by fizzup ( 788545 )

            ...it is very close to random guessing's expected error level.

            It is not. It's less than one-third the expected error level from guessing.

            Imagine this experiment: I flip a coin behind a curtain 100 times, and I ask you each time to tell me if it's heads or tails. If you say that you are unable to tell for 35 of the tosses, then I would expect you to correctly tell me if it is heads or tails 32 or 33 times and incorrectly tell me the coin's state 32 or 33 times. If, however, you correctly tell me the state of the coin 56 times and only blow it 9 times, I will want to k

            • Except this isn't a random input. These are self selected personal identifiers. If you were challenged to guess the gender of names like Fizzup, Derekloffin, Harlequin80, & ljw1004 I would expect you to get a fairly high % of the genders correct because most are either unknowable (ljw) or self obvious (Derek).

              But irrespective of that to try and extrapolate any fine grain conclusions when 33% of your dataset cannot be identified and an additional 9% are incorrectly identified is just crazy. Their data

        • Not really- if they exclude the unguessable auctions than it is 9/56 + 9 or 14%
          • But they only apply the logic to a sample of 100 and then extrapolate to their known gender data, there is nothing that implies they excluded the unguessables from the main data set. Unless you had someone sit down and manually exclude the unguessables or incorrects your results are skewed a mile.

        • by lucm ( 889690 )

          That is a fucking MASSIVE error level to apply to your stats.

          And on top of that, they assume that people DO guess gender when they buy.

          Institutionalized clickbait, that's all this is.

    • I don't recall ebay ever asking my gender. my username is initials and last name so how do ebay or buyer know. they go by my email address which is initial and last name?

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:00PM (#51544577)

    Let me try and understand this - are they suggesting that bidders go 'Gosh, that stuff is being sold by ILIKEPINKKITTENS who is probably female so therefore I'll bid less as I'm a pig and hate women'?

    Reads article: Hmmm, apparently they're not sure why, but think it's something to do with how men and women describe things.

    Damn those Mansellers and their unfair use of words.

    • Reads article: Hmmm, apparently they're not sure why, but think it's something to do with how men and women describe things.

      The researchers determined that 44% of the user names could be easily determined, and that 9% of the user names where usually guessed wrong. So what I would like to see is the results for user names that looked male but were actually run by a female, and vice versa. That should have been done long before running imperfect sentiment analysis.

      If the user name Mike1923 was actually a woman, did that seller also make 80% of what the actually male user Tom8463 made? If not, the study might be on to something wit

    • by fizzup ( 788545 )

      The authors are not really blaming anyone for anything - certainly not "Mansellers and their unfair use of words". They have identified a few things that are statistically significant, and really very interesting.

      First, people are actually not bad at guessing the gender of eBay sellers based on their names, the other items they sell, and maybe some other stuff (the article does not provide an exhaustive list). Were you aware of that? I have used eBay for well over a decade and I don't think I've ever guesse

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        I don't believe though that people bid different amounts based on the gender of the seller. The study may not be able to account for other factors (yet) but I genuinely don't know anybody that would intentionally pay a woman less, and on Ebay it's a faceless personless interaction.

        . If you want to take something practical from this study, here's an interesting life hack: consciously try to determine the gender of eBay sellers and only bid on auction items that you think are sold by women, especially for new stuff. According to this study, on average you will pay a lower price.

        Adopted broadly, this should correct a lot of the disparity.

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:06PM (#51544631)

    Just looking at raw ebay data doesn't cut it. You would need a controlled test using the exact same product description, the exact same seller feedback for both the man and woman sellers, exact same reserve price, etc. with the only difference being the name of the seller (male or female sounding).

    Otherwise the discrepancy could just be something as simple as a difference in how men and women describe their product.

  • I read the TFA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:09PM (#51544647)

    The summary doesn't really reflect the articles findings. Yes female identified sellers received less money that sellers identified as male but once it was corrected for various things the difference was down to 97c per dollar. So the difference is no where near the level the summary, or even the opening part of the article claims.

    There are also huge windows of error in their statistical sampling. They analysed 1.1m records but only had 400 sellers names assessed for expected gender. From those 35% couldn't be guessed an 9% got it wrong. So to apply that level of inaccuracy and then claim 3% as a significant difference is a bit of a stretch.

    • by phorm ( 591458 )

      I also wonder if things other than the name of the vendor could be taken into account.
      Does the auction page look professional, or does it contain a lot of weird pink fonts etc etc?
      Is the seller auctioning an item that otherwise matches his/her name?

      I've had various sellers which I suppose could be considered female (though in reality I'd say more that they seemingly cater to a female audience), but the big thing is that I may be more likely to buy an electronics product from ComputerStore2015 than LadiesHan

      • From TFA "To see whether gender was apparent in an eBay auction, they challenged 400 people to guess the gender of 100 randomly chosen sellers. Just using clues like the names of the sellers and what other items they tended to sell, participants correctly guessed the gender of 56%, declared 35% unguessable, and got less than 9% wrong"

        Hardly what I would have called particularly thorough for a study that is going to make gender based arguments.

      • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

        Would you be more or less likely to buy from LadiesComputerShop2016 than MensComputerShop2016?

        More to the point, ComputerShop2015 is a neutral sounding name, not strictly male at all. I wonder if "male-sounding" is merely seen as "neutral" rather than "male".

        I might well shop at LadiesComputerShop2016, if I was aware that it wasn't a specialty store only for women, but at first glance, I'd think they were a specialty store catering to females (and probably charging more money for the privilege of providing

    • The summary doesn't really reflect the articles findings. Yes female identified sellers received less money that sellers identified as male but once it was corrected for various things the difference was down to 97c per dollar.

      They can call me back when identical articles are sold with the same reserve price and by the same group using an obviously male identifier such as "I am a male" in the first sentence of the product description, and obviously female identifier, identified the same way..

      Next, we need a clear identification of the gender of the buyer of the auctioned article.

      Until then - meh. a completely unscientific study.

      Was there a particular psychological bent to the women who self identified as women? Were those

  • This study is offensive and neglects legal persons .

  • by cirby ( 2599 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:16PM (#51544705)

    All of those surveys they keep touting do NOT compare same (or even similar) jobs and experience. They usually compare anything BUT the same job, with the same hours. Sure, the headlines claim that, but when you look at the surveys, it's just not true.

    When they do get around to comparing similar jobs, women get the same pay (or even slightly more), right up until they start having children. Then, they either leave the job market completely (not as common nowadays) or work fewer hours. I have never worked at any place where the women generally worked more hours than the men. I've worked a lot at places where the men worked many, many more hours than the women.

    Here's the kicker: if women really were paid 20% less for the same work, who would hire men? Any company that hired only women at that rate would have a huge price differential over their competitors.

    • Given your idea you could still hire a larger all women workforce and attract the best by telling them they would never need to work overtime then pay them the same hourly rate and save money.

    • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @07:13PM (#51545177)

      But they are also greedy and will do anything for profit, except hire all women and raise profits significantly.

      • No, seriously, babies happen! My wife got out of IT after our son was born to be a stay-at-home mom. She's working part time now as he's gotten older, but make no mistake about it, being a mother is a 24hr / 365 days a year job - and it doesn't pay! This is why men work longer hours to make up for it.

        Not much has changed in the modern world with regards to the roles of men and women. The man goes out and hunts for food. The women stays home and raises the family in security. It's not that the roles can't fl

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      One thing is how maternity leave encourages the women to take the brunt of it.

      At all companies I've worked at in the last few years, even if you adopted (so there's no medical reasons, and potentially no breast feeding or anything involved), the woman get most of the child care benefits.

      So the woman stays at home, and the kids are used to it. So if someone decides to be a stay at home parent, most of the time, it will be the woman. Because it was set up to be that way from the start.

      Just have paternity and

  • The gender pay gap in today advance societies can largely be attributed to men generally being more aggressive when it comes to negotiations, be it the pricing of wares on ebay or negotiations on salary, raises or contracts. Aggressive tactics do come with risk and women seems to be more averse to risk then men. Youtube videos of people hurting themselves with ill-advised acts are largely men. As the saying goes No Guts, No Glory, thou much of the time the quest for Glory end with a rather painful punch to
  • Of course they're not going to get much for their labor there. They should be posting on eBaby, obviously.

  • invalid assumptions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:36PM (#51544855)
    They are making the same invalid assumption as the Github study, namely that sellers that identify their gender are statistically the same as those that don't. In fact, the Github study itself showed that they don't. The difference is probably something harmless; for example, it is possible (even likely) that older people tend to use their first names more frequently, and are more likely to have first names that can be classified by gender.
  • God damn it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArylAkamov ( 4036877 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @06:37PM (#51544861)

    Not this tired old meme again.

    They don't get paid less for "The same job", they get paid less because they take different jobs and, on average, work less hours than men.

    It's like people forgot about the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

    But hey, controversy sells and gets ad revenue. It doesn't matter if it's true or not.

    • They don't get paid less for "The same job"

      God damn it indeed. Since when is selling shit on Ebay the same as being employed? Nobody is saying "I'll hire you but pay you less because you're a woman". There are other forces at work here than the usual 'oppression by the patriarchy' chestnut.

      I also find it interesting that these articles usually paint women as the oppressed and men somehow as the oppressor. Can we not have at least one article in the vein of "Dudes do this one thing better than women. Why? Who the fuck knows, but lets find out and mak

  • Women in the United States are paid only 79 cents on the dollar compared with men doing the same job.

    I hear this kind of stuff being said all the time like it is some sort of general rule but the reality it seems that this is not actually happening in most companies. With most places, any pay discrepancies that might exist between two people of any gender who work for the same employer can almost always be accounted for by the fact that the people whose salaries are being compared are doing different jobs,

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      That is the thing all scientifically sound studies find, same in Europe. Women doing the same jobs under the same conditions are paid the same. One thing is, many women work part time and that pays less in many jobs (no idea why, but it seems to be the case). If you just compare men working part time and women working part time in the same job, the difference vanishes. Same if you only compare full-time workers.

      What the 3rd-wave feminists ("screw equality, we want supremacy") are trying to do here is the "B

  • Women, on average, do earn less money, that is a fact. Women are paid the same or slightly more for the same work though. Also a fact. Several several recent studies found that, go look them up. If women seek employment conditions that pay less, than that is not any discrimination, it is them using their freedoms in a different way than men. Again, on average. And there is certainly nothing here that needs fixing if they earn the same for the same work. Which they do.

    As to Ebay, it is not possible to identi

  • by aynoknman ( 1071612 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @07:27PM (#51545297)

    I was looking at the 34 most embarrassing photos on the internet.

    The link under #8 said a woman near where I live was earning $430/day online. The link under #19 said that a man nearby was earning $590/day.

  • Testosterone! So obviously people can detect the sex of merchants on ebay via the hormonal fluxes of the interwebs.

    Meanwhile in the more vacuous corners of blatherspace some "progressives" have decided that this weeks agenda is that there is really no such thing as male or female and you can't tell from looking at a person's brain. I think they are using the term Sexual Fluidity, or Fluid Sexuality, either way it is some combination of sex and fluids.
  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @08:36PM (#51545741)

    It all comes down to personal decisions [dadatho.me] It has absolutely nothing to do with gender.

    Your personal decisions affect your earning potentials. Women typically made different personal decisions than men. And I say this as a stay at home dad that has earned 80% of what my peers have because of my own personal decisions

  • 1) Men are encouraged to be aggressive and assertive. This comes in to play when choosing how much you want to charge.

    2) Product choice might also affect it. I could easily see men choosing to only sell something if it is worth it, while women might be making things for the pleasure and thinking, why not sell it.

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