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FILE - In this April 6, 2016, file photo, fans stand behind a large sign for equal pay for the women's soccer team during an international friendly soccer match between the United States and Colombia at Pratt &amp; Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. The World Economic Forum's annual Global Gender Gap Report released on Oct. 25, 2016, found that the global gender pay gap will not be closed for another 170 years if current trends continue. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

An Australian cafe charges men 18% 'gender tax' to highlight the pay gap


A cafe in Melbourne, Australia, is giving male customers a taste of gender equality with their lattes.

First reported by CNN , Handsome Her charges men an 18 percent premium "to reflect the gender pay gap." Similar to the gender pay gap in the United States, Australian men earn 17.7 percent more on average than women for full-time work. The cafe, which opens its doors on Thursday, said it will collect donations one week every month and give it to women's charities.

Handsome Her manager Belle Ngien said, "All we really wanted was to raise awareness and start conversations about the gender gap."

It didn't take long for critics, particularly men, to blast the cafe's message, describing it as discriminatory.


But Ngien doesn't let the criticism distract her from her work, noting the existing double standard.

"Men have their own spaces that we're not allowed in to, so why not have that space for women?" she added. "Eighteen percent is actually not a lot. Our coffee is $4, and 18% of that is 72 cents."

And customers, so far, has declined paying the extra cost. In fact, according to owner Alex O'Brien, some--men and women--have offered to donate more.

"We've had men travel across town to visit us and pay 'the man tax' and throw some extra in the donation jar," O'Brien wrote on Facebook. "Guys, you're pretty neat."

But, in efforts to create an inclusive community, Ngien said the cafe won't turn down customers who won't pay the extra few cents, hoping that, instead, a conversation about the gender pay gap is fueled.

"Sometimes it's hard for people to change their minds," she said. "We're not in the business of changing people's minds. They are welcome to go elsewhere if they don't want to pay a voluntary donation."

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