Cafe Charges 18 Percent 'Man Tax' To Illustrate The Wage Gap

by Christina Marfice
Image via Paige Cardona / Twitter

Men are being charged 18 percent more at this cafe, and they’re lining up to pay it

It’s 2017, and for some reason, women are still paid less than men for the same work with the same experience across a number of industries.

That’s a big and important problem, and we should be talking about it. So Handsome Her, a cafe in Melbourne, Australia, stepped up and did something pretty drastic to spark that conversation.

The cafe, which describes itself as “a space for women, by women,” erected a blackboard in front of its door listing a few house rules. Between “respect goes both ways” and “women have priority seating” is Rule #2, which has the internet solidly divided.

“Men will be charged an 18 percent premium to reflect the gender pay gap (2016) which is donated to a women’s service,” the board reads.

That figure is based on a 2016 report from Australia’s Workplace Equality Agency, which found that, on average, women earn 17.7 percent less than men across all industries on the continent. That’s pretty close to U.S. figures, where the most recent statistics show women earn about 20 percent less than men for doing the same work.

Handsome Her’s bold move obviously ignited some debate on the internet, but what’s really funny is that a lot of it looks like this:

Image via Handsom Her / Facebook

You know, a lot of celebration and support from women, with a disparaging comment thrown in there from — you guessed it! — a man.

What’s really surprising about this whole debacle is that after the chalkboard photo went viral, some men showed up at Handsome Her specifically so they could pay that extra 18 percent.

“We’ve had men travel across town to visit us and pay ‘the man tax’ and throw some extra in the donation jar,” an update on Handsome Her’s Facebook page reads. “Guys, you’re pretty neat.”

It’s nice to see men supporting equality alongside women who deserve it, for a change. Too often when these conversations come up or this point is made, we see an influx of mansplaining — and even worse — denial that the wage gap even exists.

In the U.S., the gender pay gap is even wider than it is on Australia, and it’s far from forgotten — it comes up every election cycle. We could probably use this kind of point made here, too. Just not too sure how men would respond to it.

Hats off to Handsome Her for starting the conversation — in the U.S. as well as Australia — and for showing us what it looks like when people stand up and support equality for all.