Café charges men 18% 'gender tax' to highlight pay gap

This sign lays out of the policy at Handsome Her, a Melbourne, Australia café where men are invited to pay 18% more to reflect the gender pay gap.

Story highlights

  • Men can pay 18% more in a nod to the wage disparity between women and men
  • Their donations support women's charities -- but some are slamming the whole idea

(CNN)A café in Melbourne, Australia, is giving its male customers a side of gender equity with their lattes.

At Handsome Her, men are asked to pay an 18% premium to "reflect the gender pay gap." Men earn an average 17.7% more than women for full-time work in Australia, a government report found. The difference is roughly the same in the United States.
    The first recipient charity is Elizabeth Morgan House Aboriginal Women's Service.
    The café, which opened its doors for the first time Thursday, is hoping to shine a spotlight on the issue.
    "All we really wanted was to raise awareness and start conversations about the gender gap," Belle Ngien, the café's manager, told CNN. The voluntary donations are collected during one week every month and given to women's charities, Ngien said.
    But it didn't take long for the Internet to go crazy over the scheme, with some calling Handsome Her's "gender tax" discriminatory.
    Others implied the café would run out of money because it wouldn't attract a wealthy clientele.
    Some had constructive criticism, calling the idea divisive despite its good intentions.