Brunswick cafe charging men more to highlight the gender pay gap

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By Stacey Roberts, ellaslist.

Imagine for a moment that men and women were paid equally in Australia.

It's a nice thought - but at Handsome Her Cafe on Sydney Road, for one week every month it's almost a reality.

Prepare for the male half of the species to pay an 18% surcharge at the "by women for women" cafe for their food and drink during that week, reflecting the current statistics that show the the average difference between male and female full-time weekly wage is 17.7%, or $261.30.

Image Credit: Handsome Her Facebook

Say what?

Not only are men asked to pay a little more for their plant-based grub (the tax is voluntary, but we are told nobody has refused to pay it yet - in fact, they even add a little extra to the donation jar), but women are also given priority seating in a bid to bring to light a reality for women across Australia that can often get swept under the rug.

"I like that it is making men stop and question their privilege a little bit," owner Alex O'Brien explained to Broadsheet. "We decided that one week every month we would charge men an 18 per cent premium, which we will donate”.

Funds raised will go to four different charities a year, on a rotating basis. The current charity is Elizabeth Morgan House, which provides a range of support and programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families who are experiencing family violence.

Image Credit: Handsome Her Facebook

Not all smooth sailing

For a cafe that has only been open four days, it has already seen both the good and the bad of public opinion.

The cafe's blackboard, a picture of which was posted to Twitter, 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.”

And while the cafe has seen a dramatic influx of customers in its first week, it has also had social media users claiming the voluntary surcharge is discrimination.

"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," Ms O'Brien said.

Handsome Her: 206 Sydney Rd Brunswick

Phone: (03) 8383 7360

Main image credit: Handsome Her cafe Facebook