A cafe owner has explained why she charges men more than women, and allows ladies priority seating.
Handsome Her, a vegan cafe in Melbourne, Australia, says it gives female customers a better deal to raise awareness of the gender pay gap.
The ‘man tax’ is the brainchild of Alex O’Brien. She says her restaurant is ‘for women, by women.’ Though men are very welcome – and, significantly, the surcharge isn’t compulsory. It’s in operation for one week per month.
Alex says that so far, no male customers have failed to cough up the additional charge, which works out as an 18 per cent mark up. She wants to start a conversation over the issue of gender equality in the workplace. Dare we mention the BBC?
“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,” says Alex.
Patrons of the vegan cafe, which doesn’t use disposable coffee cups and serves a 100 per cent plant-based menu, appear supportive of the idea.
One customer told Seven News in Melbourne: “I think it’s fair if you think about the world and the gender inequality that we have.”
Another said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea because I don’t think many people actually know the actual gap.”
Alex 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.
“One of my friends who works for a not-for-profit women’s service was talking about the pay gap and I thought it was a good idea, so we decided that one week every month we would charge men an 18 per cent premium, which we will donate.”
All proceeds taken from the premium go to women’s 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.
While customers and locals support Alex’s initiative, there are, as ever, people who aren’t so keen on what they argue is “discrimination”.
Alex chose a surcharge of 18 per cent as it reflects the gender pay gap in Australia in 2016. A report by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, which used Australian Bureau of Statistics data from last year, states that the full-time gender pay gap is around 18 per cent.
It means women earned only 82 per cent of what men did on average. Women would need to work an extra 65 days per year to make as much as men in this case.
The gender pay gap is not without its critics. Some go so far as to call it a myth, suggesting that figures are skewed and the difference in earnings is unquantifiable across professions and industries.
Recent data published by the Economist shows a UK pay gap of 28.6 per cent for all jobs. Though this apparently decreases to 0.8 per cent for jobs at the same level, company and function.
Interestingly, Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 makes it unlawful to provide goods or services or make facilities available to discriminate against another person based on their sex.
Men! Would you pay for a man tax croissant?
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