Vegan cafe in Australia charges men 18 percent 'tax' for gender pay gap, donates proceeds to charity

A vegan cafe owner in Melbourne, Australia, is taking matters into her own hands regarding disproportionate pay gaps between men and women.

Alex O’Brien charges male customers at the newly opened Handsome Her an 18 percent surcharge, representing Australia’s difference between how much men and women were paid for doing the same work in 2016. This stat came from a report by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, which used Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

O'Brien told The Mirror that men are very welcome and that the surcharge, which is in place one week each month, is optional. She did note that no men have refused to pay the additional fee.

"We’re bringing (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,” O’Brien told The Mirror. "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 percent premium, which we will donate."

The Mirror reports that all proceeds go to women’s charities, which will rotate through the year. August’s earnings are going to Elizabeth Morgan House, which helps Aboriginal women and children.

This pay gap between men and women also exists in the United States. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that women earn just 83 percent of what men make on average. 

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