One Australian cafe has found a unique way to address the pay gap between men and women: by making men pay more.
Alex O'Brien, owner of Melbourne-based vegan cafe Handsome Her, charges male patrons an 18 percent mark up – for one week every month – while the women continue to pay the regular amount.
The 18 percent markup reflects the gender pay gap reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistic in 2016. According to the government's statistic, Australian women only earned 82 percent of what men were receiving on a yearly basis.
So far, men frequenting the vegan cafe, described by the owner as "for women, by women," haven't argued over the surcharge.
"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," O'Brien told the Mirror.
But, O'Brien also stated, if a man refuses to pay the extra amount, he will not be refused service at the cafe. She said that this was one of the ways to bring attention to the issue.
"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," she said.
"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," she added.
The vegan cafe, which offers women priority seating, does not use disposable coffee cups and serves a 100 percent plant-based menu. And, most of the cafe patrons seem to approve of the idea.
One customer told Seven News in Melbourne: "I think it's fair if you think about the world and the gender inequality that we have."
"I think it's a brilliant idea because I don't think many people actually know the actual gap," another customer said.
However, a Facebook group, "Boycott the Handsome Her Cafe for Male Discrimination," has expressed displeasure toward the Melbourne cafe for "charging men 18% extra just because of their sex. It is unlawful and wrong."
Proceeds from the cafe go towards various Australian women charities.