Women and their views on marriage equality.

Abby Ballard on October 9, 2017

It’s funny how often people joke about women reaching into their husband’s wallet. Or, when a kid wants to buy something, they have to coax their dad to whip out a $10 note.

I even remember the routine as a child. Begging my dad to let me buy a toy, he would pat his back pocket – “searching” for his wallet, make a dad-joke about how we drain his bank, and then hand me some coins.

This stereotype of dads (or men) controlling the spending is funny for two reasons, a) my dad never just had a tenner he could pull, and b) statistically, it’s wrong.

Despite men often earning more than their female counterparts, it’s women who sway what the family actually buys.

Not only that. It’s women who influence what the family thinks. And, how they vote on national issues.

No, I didn’t exaggerate that last line. Speaking to Mia Freedman for her podcast, No Filter, the CEO of Australian Marriage Equality said that women would be the greatest influence on the same-sex marriage postal survey.

janine middleton mia freedman
Mia Freedman with Janine Middleton. Image supplied.

“For us to win this vote, it’s going to be won by women,” Middleton told the podcast.

“Women are the culture carriers of our society and they are the ones who are going to talk to their kids, their nieces and nephews, and talk to their parents and husbands.

“This is basically a vote that is taking place around the kitchen table and it’s mum who probably brings in the mail. She will probably be the one who says, ‘Okay, the surveys are here, guys. Let’s have a conversation about how we’re going to vote.’”

After the conversation takes place, they’re also the person who actions the decision.

“She’ll be the one who puts them in the postbox. I look at my godsons, if it was up to them it would in their gym back and they’d pull it out in eight months time.

“So, it will be the women who will be organising the family.

As I emphasised earlier, women hold the ability to choose equality for a nation but also the primary purchasing power.

Forbes provides that if the consumer economy had to be gendered, it would be a woman.


Women are responsible for 85% of all consumer purchasing, through both their buying power and influence.

woman looking at clothes
Not just through their buying, but their influence women are powerful.

In fact, women hold the majority of spending control across the majority of products, including groceries, finance and banking, and charity donations. For instance, all or most women have 77% of spending control over groceries in their household, 71% control over pharmaceuticals and medicine, and even travel bookings at 61% (1).

So, even if it’s not the woman at the counter buying the big fridge or even the one ticking the boxes on the survey forms, she is the minds behind it.

She will have, most likely, started a discussion about the decision to buy or engage in the first place. She will have come to the decision informed, whether it is reading reviews, trying and testing, or in the case of the survey, empathising, ‘What if this was my child?’. She will be the one to start the conversation (over the dinner she made and purchased for).

From the tomatoes to put in her spaghetti bolognese or the future of Australia’s LGBTI community, women are the foremost decisions makers.

They may not be the ones reaching to their back pockets, but they decided whether to reach, to begin with.

(1) Brand Survey, Mamamia & BROAD, August 2017

You can listen to the full interview with Janine Middleton and Mia Freedman, here.

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