parent opinion

'A company asked to speak to the “decision maker” in my house. They meant the man.'

“And what is the name of the other person on the mortgage?” The bank staffer asked me as we completed documents to discharge a loan. 

I was perplexed. The account was in my name, my other loan was in my name, I’d been doing business with this bank for 10 years. In my name only.

“Your husband,” he said. “What are his details?”

“Oh no, it’s just me,” I answered, so used to this question and moving past it quickly to keep the anger in check, while diminishing myself with my response.

But in this moment I realised, there’s no “just me” at all. 

“Actually, it’s not just me. It’s ALL me.” 

Watch: If a man lived like a woman for a day. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

And it is.

As a solo mum I am the head of my household and responsible for it all. Like many other women, whether partnered or not, I make the decisions, I earn the money and I pay the bills – and, surprisingly to some, all without a man to direct me! 


But regardless of our position in the family and as shown time and time again, a woman’s ability to make decisions isn’t defined  - or limited - by gender. So why is it so difficult for some men to grasp that we are exceedingly capable of doing so?

Mention experiences like this to women and whether single or partnered they’ll have a story to share, where a man assumed they needed a male partner to make a call, or permission from their ‘husband’ to close a deal. 

One woman spoke to me of her ex-partner arriving to pick up the kids for the weekend and the tradie giving him the plumbing update and refusing to talk to her.

The misogyny is rife.

It's in the banks that will always put the man’s name first and address mail to them, even when it’s the woman who has negotiated the mortgage and is putting up the cash. 

It’s in meeting rooms where a woman’s suggestion is ignored until repeated by a man.

It’s in the councils who address rates notices to "Mr"… even when there isn’t one.

My lesbian friends, when looking for a house, were asked by the agent if they would prefer to come at another time when “their father could make it” - because obviously these two intelligent, professional females were incapable of making a decision without male guidance.

A salesman advised a friend looking to buy a new car to "talk it over with the hubby" and when she told him there wasn’t one, he was disappointed. 

"I guess you can only afford the base model then." She bought her top-of-the-line car elsewhere and put in a complaint.

One woman was trying to buy a caravan when the salesman handed her his card. “Get your husband to call me,” he said. 

When looking for quotes for plantation shutters I was asked by one company to make sure I booked the consultation at a time when the “decision maker of the household” was at home. 

“I am the decision-maker,” I told them. 

“No, we mean the man of the household,” they said.


I hung up.

And only this week, a letter confirming my daughter’s specialist appointment arrived in the letterbox, addressed to a person with her surname and a Mrs in front of it.  

The assumption being that because I am a mother, I must also be a wife. 

Casey Edwards coined the phrase “man talker” in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald back in 2018. This term refers to the (mostly) men who will only talk to men, ignoring any females regardless of their skill, expertise or position. 

If asked a question by a woman, they will respond to the man. They see women as having little to contribute.

And while studies have clearly shown that women are better decision-makers than men, women often receive a gendered response in discussions - either as a solo female being asked where her husband is, or as a male-partnered woman who is ignored even when she is the one making the decision, paying the money or is in control of the negotiations or purchase. 

When the average federal politician in Australia is a 52-year-old white man with an arts degree, 78 per cent of CEOs are men, and there is still a 15- 20 per cent pay gap between men and women it’s not hard to see how the wheel of misogyny and the institutionalised disregard of women continues to turn.


I think many of us forget the fight for equality still rages until we are brought back to reality with a – “oh here comes the money man” or “let’s wait ‘til the husband gets here, shall we?” And then we realise: we still have a long way to go.

So what to do? Calling out these archaic attitudes, both to the individual and the business, is a start. 

Let companies who behave like this know why they have just lost your business. Share businesses that won’t deal with women without males being present or who man-talk us with friends, colleagues, and family - and let them know to avoid them too.

Write or email banks, insurance companies, councils and other businesses that continue to put the male name first, demanding a change, and escalate if they don’t.

Most importantly, seek out female owned and led businesses and help the continuing rise of professional, successful women give us greater options, power and influence. 

And remember, it’s all us. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

Want to have your voice heard? Plus have the chance to win $100? Take our survey now.