Men, how much are you willing to pay for your coffee?
A latte with a side of gender equality, please
Handsome Her café in Brunswick, Melbourne opened only last week and is already causing a little stir (pardon the pun) across social media after this image was circulated across Twitter:
The sign reads: "House Rules, Rule #1: women have priority seating. Rule #2: men will be charged an 18% premium to reflect the gender pay gap (2016) which is donated to a women's service. Rule #3 respect goes both ways."
According to research by Australia's Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the average difference between men and women's full time wages in 2016 was 17.7%, which is the equivalent of $261.30 each week. Results from the same study this year suggest that the gap could have reached up to 23.1% by 2017.
Speaking to Broadsheet, the café's owner, Alex O'Brien explained that the surcharge is an incentive to bring the pay discrepancy to the "forefront of people's minds." The incentive will run for one week out of every month, with all proceeds from the tax donated to a rotating roster of women's charities. The first charity on the roster being Elizabeth Morgan House: Aboriginal Women's Services.
O'Brien also added that the surcharge is completely voluntary; if a customer is not comfortable paying the fee, the tax will be waived. According to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, a person cannot discriminate against another on the basis of gender identity.
While the 'man tax' has been received with some trepidation across social media and mainstream media channels, in a Facebook post yesterday O'Brien beamed at how positively the incentive has been received on the ground. "In three days we have opened the cafe, withstood a social media storm, hosted a joyously entertaining trivia night for a fabulous women's network, and gotten Australia talking about the long forgotten gender pay gap," O'Brien wrote, adding that "We've had men travel across town to visit us and pay "the man tax" and throw some extra in the donation jar."
Spending 18% more on a coffee equates to about $0.65, which is a relatively small price to pay to make a very big statement.
Handsome Her café is located at 206 Sydney Road in Brunswick, Melbourne.
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