There is a way to make more money if you are a female seller on eBay: pretend to be a man.
Women received less money than men for selling the very same product on eBay, according to a study of more than 1 million auctions from 2009 to 2012.
Dr. Tamar Kricheli-Katz, a sociologist and legal scholar from Tel Aviv University, and Tali Regev, an economist from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, found that when the seller of popular items identified as female, the auction got fewer bids and a lower final price.
Men earned 20 per cent more than women when selling brand new products, according to the study first published in the journal Sciences Advances.
The gap nearly disappeared for used items. Women won 97 cents for every dollar a man did for old items, as opposed to 80 cents for every dollar for new products.
The lower gap seen with used products might be due to buyers subconsciously trusting women to give more accurate product descriptions, the researchers said.
People willing to pay less for money-value gift cards, when they are sold by women rather than men, despite the fact that it is evidently the same product, was a particularly striking example of the gender bias pointed out by the research.
Women selling gift vouchers were paid 6.8 per cent less, on average, than male sellers did for the same gift cards.
Children’s toys, pet supplies and accessories were the only categories where women earned slightly more than men.
eBay does not explicitly state the gender of its users but the same study has demonstrated that users were quick to identify the sex of the sellers through usernames or items that were on offer. Users could correctly tell a seller’s gender in 1,127 cases out of 2,000.
Benjamin Mako Hill, an internet and communication scholar at the University of Washington, Seattle, told the Science Journal that the study proves that gender inequality doesn’t end when people go online.
The world's 15 most powerful women in 2015
The world's 15 most powerful women in 2015
1/15 Angela Merkel - German Chancellor
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has retained her number one ranking for topping this year’s Forbes list for the fifth consecutive year and ten times in total.
2/15 Hillary Clinton - Presidential candidate, United States
Clinton, who could become the world’s most powerful leader in 2016, has been featured on the list every year since it launched in 2014.
3/15 Melinda Gates - Cochair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Melinda Gates has cemented her dominance in philanthropy and global development to the tune of $3.9 billion in giving in 2014 and more than $33 billion in grant payments since she founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with her husband in 2000.
4/15 Janet Yellen - Chair, Federal Reserve, Washington, United States
Janet Yellen made history in 2014 when she became the first female head of the Federal Reserve.
5/15 Marry Barra - CEO of General Motors
Mary Barra made history by becoming the first female CEO of General Motors.
6/15 Christina Lagarde - Managing director, International Monetary Fund
Christine Lagarde is entering the last year of her first term heading the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the organisation which serves as economic advisor and backstop for 188 countries. Under Lagarde the IMF has supported efforts to increase female labor force participation as way to reduce poverty and inequality. The UK, Germany, China, France and Korea have endorsed Christine Lagarde for another term as the head of the IMF.
7/15 Dilma Rousseff - President, Brazil
Dilma Rousseff, who has been elected in 2010, is Brazil's first female president.
8/15 Sheryl Sandberg - COO of Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of bestseller “Lean In,” joined the company in 2008 and became the first woman on its board four years later. Sandberg helped the social network go public and expand digital revenue.
9/15 Susan Wojcicki - CEO of Youtube
Susan Wojcicki is CEO of YouTube, the world’s most popular digital video platform used by over a billion people across the globe. She oversees YouTube's content and business operations, engineering, and product development.
10/15 Michelle Obama - First lady, United States
Michelle Obama, the 44th first lady of the United States has focused her attention on issues such as the support of military families, helping working women balance career and family and encouraging national service.
11/15 Park Geun-hye - President, South Korea
Park Geun-hye is the first female leader of a country that has the highest level of gender inequality in the developed world. In her inauguration speech, she promised to prioritise both national security and economic revitalisation.
12/15 Oprah Winfrey - Actress, Director/Producer, Entrepreneur, Personality, Philanthropist
Oprah Winfrey, a former queen of daytime TV has proven she can thrive without a talkshow. Her 'The Life You Want' tour sold out stadiums from Newark to Seattle in 2014.
13/15 Ginni Rometty - CEO of IBM
Ginni Rometty joined IBM in 1981 and later became the first woman to lead the company.
14/15 Meg Whitman - CEO of Hewlett-Packard
Meg Whitman is the only woman to have headed two large U.S. public companies: eBay and Hewlett-Packard.Until Marissa Mayer's arrival at Yahoo, she was the only female head of a leading Internet-based company.
15/15 Indra Nooyi - CEO of PepsiCo
Indra Nooyi is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo. Mrs. Nooyi leads one of the world’s largest convenient food and beverage companies, with 2008 annual revenues of more than $43 billion.
“The fact that gender seems to lead to such a gap in eBay, where gender is such a relatively tiny signal, is striking,” he said.
Prime Minister David Cameron announced in July that businesses with more than 250 staff will be forced to publish the difference in salaries between male and female employees in an effort to “end the gender pay gap in a generation”.
The new transparency measures have been created in an effort to close the UK’s pay gap, where women earn on average 19.1 per cent less than men - a reality that Mr Cameron described as a “standing rebuke to our country”.