Cafe charges gender tax for menA sign placed outside a café in Australia has created quite the stir. The "Handsome Her" coffee shop had only just opened when it was thrust into the limelight but not necessarily in a positive sense. The female-owned and operated café put out a sign listing three "house rules":

  1. Women have priority seating.

  2. Men will be charged an 18% premium to reflect the gender pay gap (2016) which is donated to a women's service_._

  3. Respect goes both ways.

As is often the case these days, it didn't take long for the backlash to begin. A picture of the sign went viral and generated a storm of criticism online. Detractors jumped on the 18% tax, calling it discriminatory against men and totally antithetical to the feminist movement.

Why Tax Men?

The café's slogan is "a space for women, by women." And they're serious about it, says manager Belle Ngien. The tax, she explains, is intended to spread awareness about the wage gap between men and women. Why 18%? Well, an official study found that men earn an average of 17.7% more than women in Australia. Ngien and her coworkers simply want to even the playing field a bit by charging men more for coffee.

Ngien says that as of yet, no one has declined to pay the tax. Many patrons have even offered more. "18% is actually not a lot. Our coffee is $4, so 18% of that is 72 cents," she explains.

Not Everyone Is Buying It

However, this explanation proved less than satisfactory for many online critics. They argue that it's a classic case of reverse discrimination. Instituting a "gender tax" is not a step toward progress, they insist. If anything, it might actually make things worse.

Discriminating against individuals for the group they belong to - race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity - is morally and legally wrong

Danny McLean (@Dan___McLean) August 7, 2017

Not a fan. Whilst appreciate highlighting the issue of pay, creating an us and them is divisive. Flip this, and Twitter is in flames.

Pauloncè (@PJS_84) August 3, 2017

A Solution to Inequality?

Many agree that taking steps to promote equality is a positive thing. However, people tend to disagree on the right methods to achieve this goal. If we have evidence that one group has distinct advantages over another, is it OK to use taxes to even things out?

Advocates for these so-called "privilege taxes" say they're a no-brainer. What better way to balance the scales and raise awareness that hitting people where it hurts: their wallet?

But critics insist this is a slippery slope. Where will these taxes end? If we decide to go down this road, will the future economy also include a "race tax" or an "intelligence tax"? Things could get easily get out of control, they argue.

What do you think?


  1. angel's Avatar angel

    So, your idea to combat discrimination against women is to do the same thing to men that you "claim" they do to females? You guys are an embarrassment to the whole female population. This fight is about gender equality, not tipping the pendulum! First the p***y hats and now discrimination? You femmi-nazi's have done enough damage and I refuse to support a group of man hating women who are not smart enough to fight fair! I have a dad who spent 2 tours in Vietnam for your freedom to fight fight gender equality, not for you to disrespect him and every other male in the US. You put down my father, my sons, my husband, by brothers, your a disgrace!!!! As a psychic I can see your future and I can guarantee you won't receive one dime from any man because there won't be one stupid enough to walk in your establishment with a bunch of man hating femmi0nazi's! Why would they?? I, for one, will boycott any establishment that shows this blatant type of discrimination, and I have a feeling I won't stand alone!

    1. Huckabee's Avatar Huckabee

      This is Australia. How are they disrespecting American soldiers and American male civilians?

      1. Gwendolyn's Avatar Gwendolyn

        I agree, Lilly. Just took off on a tangent without, apparently, even knowing all the facts. Speaking of hate, this post sure is full of hateful terms, from one woman to another. Another thing women have to overcome. SMH

  1. James's Avatar James

    Capitalism is the answer. Let the men refuse to pay for services or buy anything from that store. It will close down soon.

  1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

    ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Sounds like a great gimmick to get some free publicity. If I liked prissy coffee shops, I'd go there before I went to Starbucks. It's just another gimmick. No big deal.

  1. Tom B's Avatar Tom B

    This is not a is just different pricing for is the choice of the owners...Tom

  1. David Rediger's Avatar David Rediger

    Who cares.

    1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


      1. DonBiase's Avatar DonBiase

        Oh, so Trump did this.

  1. David Rediger's Avatar David Rediger

    In this country it does not matter whether you are black, white, male, female, Christian, Jew, Muslim, gay, straight or none of the above. If you have a good product with good service at a reasonable price you will have a successful business. That is all that matters.

  1. C.E.G.'s Avatar C.E.G.

    It is a choice to open their door and make them a profit.

  1. rabbi jim's Avatar rabbi jim

    why do men frequent the cafe? Just ignore it and patronize other, more inviting, cafes. Sholom my friends

  1. David Reynolds's Avatar David Reynolds

    I hope that they are going to give 18% more coffee to the men that pay that, otherwise they could sue them for discrimination. Play them at their own game I say. Besides there is no pay gap for men and women doing the same jobs, unless there is an incentive scheme involved. What there is, is a gender earnings gap, which has many causes, women tend to apply for easier jobs that pay less, also tend to go for easier colledge and university degrees. Also women tend not to do as much overtime, and don't present a good case when asking for a raise, they tend to use feelings rather than logic like men. And the big one of course is that women decide they want children, then if they do go back to work, they then choose to work part time, so they can drop off and pick up those children, and, because they are doing part time, they don't get holiday pay and sick pay, which women tend to do more often. This rubbish about the gender pay gap has been disproved many times, but of course the feminists want to earn the same money as men, while doing less work, because they're lazy.

    1. Linda's Avatar Linda

      your response is nothing but justification for a pay gap that you will not acknowledge exists. Further evidence that many people are oblivious to anything that doesn't affect them directly.

      1. Mike's Avatar Mike

        It is illegal in the west (UK, USA, Europe, AUS) to pay women less Linda. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? He acknowledged the earnings gap. It is true women work less than men. Why do they work less than men? Because women are wired differently and have different choices in life. So they take time out to have a baby. If a women takes time out to have kids, why should she still earn the same as a man who has no time off? Sure the women will get paid the same hourly rate, since that's the law. However she will earn less for that year since she wasn't there for nine months and had to take maternity. Pay gap is a myth. It is an earnings gap and we all know earnings are about work done. You want same pay as men don't start a family.

      2. DonBiase's Avatar DonBiase

        What pay gap?
        Same job, same pay.

  1. David MoHo's Avatar David MoHo

    The gender pay gap is a myth, but a necessary one, otherwise all those academics and authors would be out of work.



  1. Dean's Avatar Dean

    Discrimination is discrimination wherever it comes from. This shop is just as disgusting and an employer that pays differently based on sex. I for one do not patronize and business that discriminates for any reason. I encourage everyone in Australia to not go to this cafe for any reason.

  1. Jessica North-O'Connell's Avatar Jessica North-O'Connell

    A good chuckle! I commend them for making a point. It often takes someone making an extreme stand in order to bring attention to situations of inequality.

    When our government decided it wanted to make a bid to host the Olympic Games, funding to women's and children's services was cut or withdrawn altogether. Women do not have the same access to services as our male counterparts.

    The very fact that policies have had to be put in place stating that X number of women and "minorities" must be hired to various work positions indicates that there was a "natural" preference for male applicants which had to be addressed.

    As far as wage parity goes, I beg to differ, David. The first company I worked for hired men and women at different rates, based solely on gender. In fact, I had more skills and more education than the man who was hired at the same time. It may be less blatant now, but the disparity still exists.

    When there is no longer a need for a coffee shop to point out such disparities, then we will know we no longer have a problem with "gender issues." We are all people, first and foremost; gender is a condition of existence in the three-dimensional realm whose actualized form requires polarity in order to exist. It's time we remembered this and respect and treat one another as equals.

  1. CW's Avatar CW

    This place will be shutting down very soon! Way to loose 50% or more of your business. This place would be closed and it business licence would be revoked it the states.

  1. Lyn's Avatar Lyn

    If this was the USA, they'd be in court yesterday. I like the effort they're making, tho. What we have in America is pretty much the same situation. It needs a government fix. Exec.branch, judicial and congress. It is ridiculous to have any wage disparity. But then we can't get the minimum wage raised. Hence, situations like this.

    If this place is for women, up front giving them priority, then men know what they're walking into. They don't have to participate. But it seems they do , anyway. I see no harm, no foul. Choice is the operative notion.

    We control guns and have special sin taxes for many items in the US. Is that fair? You may SCUBA dive, but no matter the danger involved,no extra taxes are charged. The list is endless for no sin tax activities and items that are dangerous. I find it all a little hypocritical.

    1. Mike's Avatar Mike

      You do know it is illegal in all nations of the west to pay women less? I don't know any women who is paid less than me and I work with several. We are all on the same rate. It is the law. Women do earn less that is true. Well work more then my dear, dear women. You take time off to have a family so of course you will earn less. Your pay is still the same hourly rate as a man's, but to earn as much you have to be at work as much. It is not rocket science. Take 1000 men and women and do a survey. On the family thing alone you will find an earnings disparity but the pay, the hour rate will be the same.

  1. Jessica North-O'Connell's Avatar Jessica North-O'Connell

    And here's another stupid example of gender inequity for you:

    (Don't teach men not to rape, nor make them responsible for their actions, of course...)

    BTW, this IS in the U.S.

    And people are complaining about the concept of paying a few cents more for their coffee...

  1. haroldhhorning's Avatar haroldhhorning

    As a man and a business owner, I wholeheartedly support the coffee shop's intent. Now, what I would do differently...

    in lieu of the 18% tax, every customer could sign an agreement to do "The following x number of things (whatever they may be such as talk to bosses and choose vendors, etc.) to support equal pay for women." In addition the men who are on the right side of things can enjoy their coffee, and may freely wish to donate a premium of 18% to the women's charity, and commit to fixing things in the world!

  1. Gwendolyn's Avatar Gwendolyn

    I see all the emotion, mostly from the men, being spewed here. But, there is one thing that has apparently not been noticed. They put up a sign and told anyone interested what they were going to do. Anyone who did not care for the house rules was not required to enter and dine at the house. That is far more fair that the underhanded, backroom dealing, supposedly non-existent, pay discrimination which decidedly does exist in the corporate world. Court cases have been fought and won. This, in itself, speaks to the existence of said discrimination. It is on record and, therefore, not a myth. The misogynistic explanations above serve to prove the environment that women have to work in, and the foundation for the bias. I am sure that is not the intention, but there you go. Any man buying coffee there is donating to the cause voluntarily. No one is forcing them to drink coffee there. I see no wrong in it. I say Brava!

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