(iStock)

One of the many benefits of being your own boss is that you can use your business as a platform to raise awareness about social issues — assuming that you can withstand the controversy. A Melbourne business owner is doing just that, and creating quite a stir.

According to the Telegraph, Alex O’Brien who owns the Handsome Her eatery, is taking a stand against the country’s significant gender wage gap. She’s doing this by levying an 18 percent “man tax” on her male customers, and also she’s giving her female customers seating priority. All of this comes in the wake of a recent government report warning that Australian women faced another 50 years of pay inequality “unless significant changes are made.” How to change? This business owner figures that making men pay more at her business is a start.

“If people aren’t comfortable paying it or if men don’t want to pay it, we’re not going to kick them out the door.” O’Brien told the Telegraph. “It’s just a good opportunity to do some good.”

O’Brien says her customers — both male and female — have been very supportive, with “numerous men” paying the “tax” and throwing in a few dollars more for the cause. “As a man — no problem with it at all,” one customer told the media organization. “No reason women shouldn’t have their own spaces and be able to dictate what the rules are in them.”

But the response on social media has been mixed. Some have pointed out that the move creates more divisiveness and discrimination.  Others are just plain angry. Many online rose to the cafe’s defense, with one Facebook commenter saying that the restaurant is a “beautiful place to take my daughters.”

O’Brien plans to donate the proceeds from the “tax” to an aboriginal women’s welfare charity.