The conversations of life

Would you pay 18 per cent more – because you’re a man?

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Handsome Her, a new vegan café in Melbourne, is asking its male customers to do just that after introducing an 18 per cent ‘man tax’.

A US TV report on the café. Credit: YouTube

The premium – designed to reflect the 17.7 per cent wage gap between men and women in Australia in 2016 – is one of three ‘house rules’ at the café, which also gives women “priority seating” and requests that “respect goes both ways”.

Opinion was divided on social media about whether it was an inspired idea or male discrimination.

“I think if you want to fight for equality then surely treating everyone the same is the way to go,” one man wrote.

“As a man — no problem with it at all. No reason women shouldn’t have their own spaces and be able to dictate what the rules are in them,” another said.

Positive discrimination?

But owner Alex O’Brien told Broadsheet that they have received “nothing but positivity from everyone, males and females”, with one man even donating $50 to the cause.

“It is a bit more tongue in cheek. If someone doesn’t want to pay the tax, we will just wipe it,” she says.

It’s true. The surcharge is also only in place for one week every month with the extra profits being donated to women’s charities.

With the figures showing that Australian women could be paid less than men for another 50 years, at least it’s putting the topic back on the table.

Annie Donaldson

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.


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