This Australian Cafe's Unique 'House Rules' Give Women Priority — And Ask Men To Pay Extra

"I like that it is making men stop and question their privilege a little bit."

Since the gender pay gap is still alive and well in all parts of the world in 2017, one coffee shop in Melbourne, Australia has instituted a "Gender Pay Gap Tax" for male customers in an effort to get people to look at wage inequality in a different light.

According to an Australian publication called Broadsheet, Handsome Her's main goal is to help women in need. To that end, for one week every month there is an optional Gender Pay Gap Tax put in place, which stipulates male customers will be charged an 18 percent premium — the same amount as Australia's gender pay gap. 

Other "rules" as seen written on the chalkboard below include women getting priority seating and respect going both ways.

"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," Handsome Her owner Alex O'Brien tells the outlet, noting the tax will be donated to a different women's charity on a rotating basis.

Though she adds the tax has been met with "nothing but positivity from everyone, males and females," many social media users haven't been as kind.

As HuffPost notes, one Twitter user called the tax "ridiculous," while another even questioned the legality of such a practice.

Still, O'Brien isn't backing down, though she does want to emphasize the tax is by choice, not mandated. "We are not imposing the surcharge, it's voluntary," she explains. "Men are asked if they want to pay the charge before being charged."

The Washington Post reports that, per the Census Bureau, the median woman in the United States makes 79 cents for a dollar paid to the median man. What's more? The gap grows larger when race is factored in, with Black women earning 60 cents and Hispanic women earning 55 cents to every White man's dollar.

In looking back on her Gender Pay Gap Tax experiment, O'Brien took to Facebook on August 6 to reflect on "a hectic couple of days."

"Who would have thought one little chalkboard would cause such a stir?" she asked.

Still, the positive seemed to outweigh the negative for the female-focused entrepreneur. "Yesterday and today we were jam-packed with customers showing their support," she wrote. "We've had men travel across town to visit us and pay 'the man tax' and throw some extra in the donation jar - guys, you're pretty neat."

In addition to thanking her customers, O'Brien also expressed gratitude for her staff, whom she intimated had a difficult few days. "It's not every day that your boss pulls you into her fire-pit of feminism and you have to quickly become warriors and defend where you work and what you do on a level that others never do," she added. "You have not only been incredibly strong, proud and supportive, but nurturing and protective as well." 

A Plus has reached out to the Handsome Her for comment.


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.