Grace Allen | Contributing Writer | Wednesday, 9 August 2017

New Melbourne Cafe Has Sparked Debate With An 18% \\\'Man Tax\\\'

New Melbourne Cafe Has Sparked Debate With An 18% 'Man Tax'

The Debrief: This new cafe is forcing customers to think about gender pay gap

One cafe owner in Australia is challenging gender pay gap by introducing an 18% 'man tax'. 

Handsome Her is a vegan cafe in Melbourne, run by Alexandra O'Brien, and it has caused a great deal of debate on social media over the last few days. The owner's intention was to highlight the obvious discrepancy in pay between men and women - which, in Australia amounts to 17.7%. 

What's the tax for?

The tax is to be introduced for one week each month, and isn't compulsory but just encouraged (so any outraged men out there can pipe right down). The money raised will then be donated to female-focused charities. Alexandra is quoted as saying 'I do want people to thing about it, becaue 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.'

What's the reaction been like?

Alexandra reported that she'd received nothing but positive feedback about the tax - and indeed, she wrote on the cafe's Facebook page that there had been men travelling 'across town to visit us and pay the man tax.'  However, the reaction on social media has been a little, well, testy. A Twitter user named MattDog went as far as trying to report the cafe to Consumer Affairs Victoria, on the basis that 'it's not ok for @handsome_her to discriminate based on sex.' MattDog has, sadly, entirely missed the point there.

CNBC has pointed out that if a cafe were to introduce a gender tax in the States, it would be even higher, at 20% - that is the year-round full time pay gap between genders. A glimmer of hope, though: according to Fast Company (using data from a recent Pew Research Study), "Millenial women are so outpacing men in higher education that it's inevitable they will become their generation's top earners". There is hope yet. 

In the meantime, it's great that cafes like Handsome Her are drawing attention to such an obvious and longstanding issue.

Photo: Handsome Her/Instagram

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Tags: gender