I've been on dates where the guy has told me outright that a woman’s place is in the home.
Buy a drink for a man or go halves on a date and it’s met with bewilderment, then a certain level of conceit.
According to the Ernst & Young report, ‘macho culture’ and ‘macho Australian male dominance’ were the reasons most frequently given for the absence of women at the top of industry here. I’ve been told by previous employers that I didn’t get a promotion because I’m in a long-term relationship, might get pregnant within the first two years of working there, that I was valuable in meetings despite being a woman because I have ‘a mouth on me’, and that I should wear something that revealed my tits for a pitch at a male-dominated firm.
The ‘macho’ culture here extends further than bravado and inappropriate comments in the workplace.
On a menu for a Liberal National Party fundraiser, they declared they were serving up Julia Gillard quail with ‘small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box’ – and when there was a furore over it, dismissed it as ‘just a joke’ between the event’s two organisers.
But later on, he seemd to completely change his mind when he informed me that ‘no wife of his’ would work as she’d need to stay home and raise their children.
When I then brought up the fact that many women balance having a career with having children, he said that ‘those kinds of women should seriously question whether they should be a mother at all, as that’s just selfish’. I’m now with an English guy and, I’ve got to say, it’s a relief that I now don’t have to go on any disastrous dates with Australian guys. At any given party, you’ll most likely find the men and women decamped into two separate groups.
After all, what could a woman possibly have to contribute to serious men’s business?
Challenge the misogynistic status quo, you’re told it’s clear you don’t ‘get’ Australian humour – it’s just the ‘blokey’ culture, nothing to be taken seriously.