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Vegan café challenging gender pay gap in controversial move

The gender pay gap is clearly an issue which needs speaking about. One vegan café in Australia has taken a controversial step to challenge the disparity in pay between men and women, with male visitors to the café having to pay more for their purchases.

For one week per month at The Handsome Her café in Melbourne, male customers are charged an extra 18 per cent on their bill, in line with the 18 per cent pay gap reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last year.

Alex O’Brien, the owner of the café, justified her interesting yet controversial stance: “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”.

In August, O’Brien is donating the extra money made from the charge to Elizabeth Morgan House, a charity which works with Aboriginal women and children. Other charities will benefit from the 18 per cent male charge in the following months. O’Brien says that the charge isn’t strictly enforced, but it is yet to be opposed:

“If men don’t want to pay it, we’re not going to kick them out the door. It’s just an opportunity to do some good. We’re bringing it [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”.

In Australian law, it is illegal to provide goods or services or make facilities available to discriminate against another person based on their sex, as per the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984.

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