A “gender pay gap” bake sale to be held at the University of Queensland (UQ) during its Feminist Week, which will charge based on gender, has sparked outrage from students and threats of violence towards the organisers.
Madeline Price, the vice-president of gender and sexuality at the UQ Student Union, said the response to the Brisbane event highlighted an “underlying trend in online behaviour towards women” that has “galvanised the feminist community on campus”.
Feminist Week is held on the UQ campus each semester, hosted by the UQ Union (UQU), UQU Women’s Collective and UQ Women’s Department.
A series of events will be held between April 4 and 8, but it is the pay gap bake sale that has drawn the most attention, with many students calling the bake sale discriminatory on the UQ Stalkerspace Facebook page.
The description of the event reads: “Specific to each faculty, each baked good will only cost you the proportion of $1.00 that you earn comparative to men (or, if you identify as a man, all baked goods with cost you $1.00!).
“For example, if you are a woman of colour in the legal profession, a baked good at the stall will only cost you 55 cents!”
A now-deleted post by UQ student Ashley Millsteed that described the bake sale as “blatantly discriminatory against men” cited Queensland’s 1991 Anti-Discrimination Act and the federal 1984 Sex Discrimination Act.
Purpose of bake sale to ‘start a conversation’
Ms Price said the “infamous” bake sale stall was designed to generate discussion, but had instead resulted in rape and death threats towards its organisers.
“The whole purpose of the gender pay gap bake sale was to generate discussion and start a conversation about wage inequality,” she said.
“[But] instead of being genuine discussion about, ‘Oh, a pay gap exists? Let’s talk about this and engage with this issue’, it’s been a lot more personal attacks against the organisers and against members of the Women’s Collective and students of campus.
“We’ve had rape threats and death threats by people who were threatened by the existence of a bake sale that could potentially engage with an issue of inequality.”
Ms Price said there had been some positive responses from students who had recognised that feminism was needed after reading the comments online about the bake sale.