If you are in Melbourne, Australia and happen to look for a vegan cafe, then you can head to Handsome Her. But if you’re a man, be prepared to end up paying more than the female customers. Yes, the cafe levies a surcharge on male customers, but there’s a powerful message behind it.
No one likes paying more taxes based on their gender, right? Then how are people okay with the pay gap based on gender? It’s a known fact that around the world there is a big difference in the remuneration received by men and women. From entertainment industry to big enterprises, many are guilty of practising the vice.
The ‘man tax’ paid at this cafe is to highlight the disparities in pay scale. The male customers are expected to pay a surcharge fixed at 18 per cent but it’s not compulsory or asked every day. The additional cost is levied only once a week, per month.
The idea of the ‘man tax’ was started by the cafe’s owner Alex O’Brien. She says her restaurant is ‘for women, by women’ but men are always welcome. The main motive behind this move is to start a conversation over the issue of gender equality in the workplace. Talking to the Daily Mirror, O’Brien said, “If men don’t want to pay it, we’re not going to kick them out the door. It’s just an opportunity to do some good.”
She describes herself as a “feminist, not the fun kind”, and added: “We’re bringing it [the gender pay gap] to the forefront of people’s minds. I like that it is making men stop and question their privilege a little bit.”
According to the report by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, which used Australian Bureau of Statistics data from 2016, it stated that the full-time gender pay gap is around 18 per cent. And no, the extra earning is not stashed away, it is donated to charities.
“Alex plans to rotate them four times a year. In August, the earnings will go to an organisation called Elizabeth Morgan House, which helps Aboriginal women and children,” the report added.
Many have praised her for her meaningful initiative.