One week out of every month we have an 18 percent premium for men, which is the same amount as the gender pay gap.
Cafe’s man tax is setting feminism back and not the way to win the gender wars
by Susie O’Brien
BANNING male staff, making men pay more for coffee, and giving women priority seating is not the way to win the gender war.
Nor is putting “vulva stones” and “period sticker packs” at the front counter.
A vegan cafe in Sydney Rd, Brunswick is clearly discriminating against men by asking them to pay an 18 per cent “man tax” which will be donated to an Aboriginal charity helping women and children.
I understand their desire to do something to address the gender pay gap that means millions of Australian women earn thousands of dollars less than their male peers.
But its policy of hiring only women and creating a space “for women by women” is setting back the cause of gender unity, not advancing it.
Surely it will just put men off by making them part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
How does priority seating for women work? Do you turf out a guy who’s just settled down with the newspaper and a latte because a group of women come in? Or do they sit in another section out the back like the blacks did decades ago in the US?
In any case, men in part-time work also suffer a gender pay gap, particularly at lower levels.
There are also many male bosses who do what they can to treat all employees fairly; it’s not as if there’s a generation of men who make a deliberate decision to rip women off.
So why treat them as if they do?
The cafe, Handsome Her, was profiled on the Broadsheet website and owner Alex O’Brien said the aim was to make “men stop and question their privilege a little bit”.
She said men had been very positive, and one had even donated extra money. She said if men don’t want to pay extra they wouldn’t be kicked out the door.
But the entire idea seems a step in the wrong direction.
The owners make it clear that “respect goes both ways” but it seems very disrespectful to me — and I’m a very committed feminist.
Yesterday a Handsome Her Facebook post noted that the cafe was “jam-packed with customers showing their support” after the story hit the media.
“I had a woman bring her daughters in today and when she came up to the till and saw our gorgeous vulva stones and our period sticker packs she beamed, thanked us for what we were doing and said ‘what a beautiful place to take my daughters’ … I swelled with pride,” the post read.
Yup. Vulva stones and period sticker packs.
Well, it may be a place to bring my daughter, but probably not my sons, who are the ones who’d benefit the most from learning about gender issues.
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