Katherine Mangu-Ward on the Dry Cleaning Gender Gap


gal in tie
Kris Kesiak Photography/Flickr

Yesterday at an Equal Pay Day presser, President Barack Obama delivered this successful laugh line to an XX-heavy crowd: 

We'll talk about dry cleaners next, right—(laughter)—because I know that—I don't know why it costs more for Michelle's blouse than my shirt. (Laughter.) 

Fair enough. Any gal who has ever walked into a dry cleaner that boasts $1.99 shirts and walked out with a receipt that says she's paying $5.95 per blouse has probably wondered the same thing.

What divides the meddlesome from the market-friendly, explains Reason Managing Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward, is how they think about where that differential comes from and what they think should be done about it.