Handsome Her cafe
The Handsome Her cafe in Melbourne is charging men 18% more Facebook

A cafe in Melbourne is taxing men and seating women first to raise awareness of the gender pay gap.

Handsome Her, a vegan cafe, said it was charging men 18% more and donating the money raised to women's services.

The cafe, which advertised the scheme on a board, said the idea has had support from both women and men.

"Well, it's been a hectic couple of days," the cafe posted on Facebook. "Who would have thought one little chalkboard would cause such a stir?"

"Notes from the real world - yesterday and today we were jam-packed with customers showing their support.

"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.

"We've had men travel across town to visit us and pay "the man tax" and throw some extra in the donation jar – guys, you're pretty neat."

The cafe also praised its staff for adapting to the new rules.

"It's not every day that your boss pulls you into her fire-pit of feminism and you have to quickly become warriors and defend where you work and what you do on a level that others never do.

"You have not only been incredibly strong, proud and supportive, but nurturing and protective as well."

The surcharge is put in place one week in every month, but isn't compulsory for customers.

The scheme has had a mixed reaction from customers. Some support raising awareness of the gender pay divide, but others argue it is hypocritical and serves only to widen the gender divide.