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Handsome Her's ''man tax'' is a necessary step for gender equality


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An Australian café has evoked mixed thoughts following the introduction of a “man tax”. Handsome Her, a vegan café located in Melbourne, advertised that men would pay an 18% surcharge on goods sold, in addition to women having priority over seating within the café.

The surcharge is intended to represent the 18% pay gap between men and women in professional roles across Australia, a statistic which is further applicable within the UK. While some have praised the café for reflecting real world issues, others have been critical to note that it is unfair and sexist to impose such rules.

Without insight, yes, asking men to pay more for their food and drinks is unfair and placing them in a position where they are considered to be of lower social importance than women is discriminatory upon gender. Though the surcharge is only in place for one week each month and is not compulsory (with these profits being donated to charity), it is right to consider such a rule unfair. After all, why should you have to pay more if you are a man and why do women deserve these special rights?

However, this is entirely the point. This small café in Australia has become a microcosm; a miniature variation, with the characteristics of something much larger, of the working world reversed. In the working world, women are commonly known to be paid less than men working in the same roles and are often cheated out of opportunities such as promotions based solely upon assumptions made regarding their gender.

Here in this small café, men get to experience, in a very real and tangible way, how it feels to be a woman in the working world. As such, they can learn and understand from this experience, both how fortunate they are to have such automatic entitlements and how the working environment is discriminatory against genders regardless of skills and capabilities.

man tea

Though it has long been respectively common knowledge that women are often paid less than men for doing the same work, little change has developed over the years and taking a fresh approach to the issue may be what needs doing. We know the pay gap exists, but what often is ignored, is the impact that wage differences have on the lifestyles of men and women.

It can be argued that, for both genders, there is a clear difference between the interpretation of a goods value in association with disposable income. Each month, many women will receive less in their pay checks than men. Although the goods are the same price for both genders, in theory women will pay for them out of a higher percentage of their salaries than men, making everyday goods more expensive for women than their male counterparts.

Handsome Her have looked beyond the obvious statistic to encourage both men and women alike to consider the negative impact pay differences are having upon livelihoods for no logical reason.

Overall, Handsome Her have brought to light the issues of gender inequality in the workplace deliberately in a way which is unfair and discriminates against men. They do so with the overall aim of getting men and the wider world to understand the very real impact workplace discrimination has upon women’s careers and livelihoods. Though with an approach that may be considered by some to be radical, it is a necessary step for advancements of female rights in the workplace.

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