Gender Equality
Women in Australia, on an average, earn 17.7% less than men do.
Paige Cardona/Twitter

A cafe in Australia is charging an 18% "gender tax" from male customers in an effort to highlight the existing pay gap in the country.

Women in Australia, on an average, earn 17.7% less than men do.

Handsome Her, a vegan cafe in Brunswick, Melbourne, charges men an 18% premium for one week every month.

The cafe's website reads, "Created by women for women, it’s a space where creativity, thought and activism converge. In fact, Social Justice, Feminism, Community Development and Environmental Responsibility are the four pillars upon which Handsome Her was built and against which we hold ourselves accountable every single day."

Speaking to Broadsheet, owner Alex O'Brien said that she was discussing ways to raise money for women's charities with her friend when they hit upon the idea for the surcharge.

"I do want people to think about it because we’ve had this (pay discrepancy) for decades and decades and we’re bringing it to the forefront of people’s minds. I like that it is making men stop and question their privilege a little bit," Alex told the publication.

 

If anybody is wondering where our colourful vulva stones come from, they are made by Alex's sister Jo @priceobrien in her mother's group. Jo packs her four kids (under the age of seven) into the car and drives all the way from Frankston to drop them off at HH once a week, what a woman! And don't they make such a colourful addition to the cafe?  #handsomeher #handsomecoffee #veganbrunswick #brunswick #vegansofmelbourne #brunswickcafe #vegansofinstagram #melbournefood #cafefood #melbourneeat #instafood #foodie #foodart #vegan #veganfood #veganfoodshare #veganmelbourne #breakfastinmelbourne #melbournecafes #brunch #breakfastclub #melbournebrunch #brunchspot #whatveganseat #melbournefoodblog #melbournefoodies #melbournefoodshare

A post shared by Handsome Her (@handsomeher) on

 

Our Wall of Dames ♀ @nicolesquelch 

A post shared by Handsome Her (@handsomeher) on

7 News Sydney, which covered the cafe in August, reported that even though the tax is optional, no men had refused to pay it till that point.

 
Men Pay 18% More in Cafe in Melbourne

Handsome Her cafe in Melbourne is protesting the gender pay gap by making men pay an 18% premium 1 week per month. The tax is optional & so far no men have refused to fork out. It also has priority seating for women. Download the 7 News app: http://yhoo.it/2a8SxYV #PayGap #7News

Posted by 7 News Sydney on Friday, 4 August 2017

"If people aren’t comfortable paying it or if men don't want to pay it, we're not going to kick them out the door," Alex had told the channel.

"It's just a good opportunity to do some good."

Apart from the premium collected from men, which is given to an organisation that works with women, female customers also have priority seating in the cafe.

The response to the cafe has been mostly mixed on social media. While some feel that it is "divisive" and "inequitable", others have appreciated the idea stressing on the need for safer spaces for women and for starting a conversation around pay gap.