Cafe charges 18% 'man tax' to make customers think about gender pay disparity

The feminist owner of a vegan cafe in Melbourne, Australia is charging men an 18% "man tax" to get her customers thinking about the unfair treatment of women.

Women also receive priority seating over men.

The Sun:

Owner Alex O’Brien told Broadsheet website: “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.”

Ms O’Brien says the response from her customers has been positive, with one man even donating $50 (£30) to the cause.

She said: “There’s been nothing but positivity from everyone, males and females.”

But the reaction on social media has been mixed, with some praising while others are outraged.

One Twitter user said: “This makes me sick. What the hell is wrong with these stupid women. Rules for men to enter?”

While Jack Saba tweeted: “Your “cafe” is sexist.”

The extra money will be donated to the Elizabeth Morgan House which supports Aboriginal women and children.

It comes as a row broke out over the gender pay gap after the salaries of top BBC earners were revealed.

The broadcaster published a full list of the 96 people who earn more than £150,000exposing a huge disparity in wages, with just one woman – Claudia Winkleman – featuring in its top ten best-paid stars.

There is a gender pay gap, the question is why? As for studies to back your argument, take your pick. The one factor that seems to jump out of every study that contributes most to the pay gap is motherhood. A large percentage of women who have babies leave the work force for 6 months to two years. Many of them get off the fast track to advancement and promotions - far more than men who have children.

Is this penalizing women for having babies? I suppose yes. But what is to be done about it?  If a woman chooses to nurture her children by working fewer hours and giving less of herself to the job, what does that do to her value to the company that employs her? 

Charging a "man tax" is stupid and will no doubt lead to the failure of the business. You can't antagonize 50% of your potential customers and hope to stay afloat. And as far as thinking about the unfair treatment of women, the simplemindedness of focusing exclusively on the pay gap will only convince those already disposed to supporting your position. 

The workforce is changing as is the concept of work itself. Many companies are going with flex hours, shorter work weeks, and offering child care benefits. But none of these changes materially affects the wage gap because some employees will always be willing to give more to the company than others, increasing their value to the business. That most of those employees are men says more about the culture than it does discriminatory practices against women.