Cafe Owner Charges Men More To Raise Awareness To Gender Pay Gap

The Australian cafe owner thought that this would be a clever way to both raise awareness and help women in need by sending the extra money to charity.

Male and female workers.

A cafe owner in Australia may have just given bosses across the United States a reason to feel ashamed.

As the gender pay gap debate continues to concern everyone from female workers themselves to lawmakers in Washington, D.C., Handsome Her vegan cafe owner Alex O'Brien decided to make her customers aware of the gender pay gap by charging her male customers more, The Independent reports. In the meantime, however, female customers continue paying for the standard cost of the menu items.

Calling the cafe a “space by women, for women,” O'Brien put up a sign on her establishment's door saying that women aren't only given priority seating, they are also insulated from the 18 percent “premium” surcharge that will be collected and then donated to what O'Brien calls women's services.


The sign and different policy takes place once a month and is meant to give men the chance to contemplate how privileged they have been.

“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,” she said.

In Australia, official data shows that women earn 82 percent of what men are paid on average a year, giving O'Brien the idea of charging the extra 18 percent.

In America, things aren't too different, as many Twitter users explained.

According to The Independent, O'Brien hasn't received any complaints regarding her provoking sign and her new policies so far. And as far as male customers who've been asked to pay more, none has argued against the measure, especially once they learn that the surcharge is collected and sent to women's charities across the country.

Thanks to this effort, many employers not only in Australia but also across the globe will have further incentives to look into the matter more closely and, perhaps, even take similar actions to bring attention to this issue. It's actions like this that help raise awareness to issues that affect women and other minorities directly.

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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