You may have heard the fable of Paul – a man who made a big mistake. He tried to tell a woman that she was wrong about the correct terminology for the vulva, a statement he made on Twitter for everyone to see.
Not only was Paul wrong (duh), he continued to defend his position in what can now be labelled the most notable public mansplaining* event of 2019.
We’re now certain no topic is free from mansplaining.
Finance is no different. The women of the Verve community have shared many stories of being ignored, spoken over or patronised by their bank, broker or financial advisor — or even by their partners, colleagues and friends.
How can this still be happening? Women are often the financial decision-makers in their households and responsible for the majority of household spending.
Yet, the reality is that men still lead over 90% of financial services companies and 65% of political representatives are men. They hold the positions of power, creating the financial structures we all exist within.
But these men can be wrong, just like Paul. We’ve seen several resign in the light of the Banking Royal Commission and we’re convinced greater diversity in positions of power, will help change this. Hell, it might even put an end to mansplaining.
Mansplaining is simply a power dynamic, playing out in real-time, if we equalise the power we eliminate the mansplain. Genius.
But wait, what can we do in the meantime, while the whole system is doing a 180?
Well unfortunately, we’re very familiar with the mansplain at Verve— finance is a male dominated industry and we’re women running a super fund. It’s a million mansplains waiting to happen.
So here’s how we respond to the (money) mansplain:
The “Thank you, next”
In these moments sometimes it’s best to channel Ariana Grande, use a little sass and politely put the mansplainer in his place. You’re not directly addressing the mansplain but you’re clearly redirecting the conversation.
“I appreciate your input and I’ve got this.” OR
“It might be helpful for me to explain my background and experience in finance/ with money” OR
“Thank you for your comment, I’ll continue and if you have any questions I will address them at the end”
A little humour
This works particularly well with friends, when you want to keep the mood light but also put a stop to this regressive behaviour. So why not respond to the mansplain with an equally patronising question in return? Or, be overly eager, thanking them excessively for their advice. Hopefully, a little cheek will trigger a quick course-correct on the mansplainers behalf.
Be straight up
In almost all instances, this undermining behaviour is subconscious. That doesn’t mean it should stay that way. If a financial advisor speaks directly to your male partner, ignorantly overlooking the fact that you make the financial decisions, it might be time to call it out. After all, they are providing you with a service and they’re probably doing this to other women. You could just find another advisor (banker/broker)— or you could take the opportunity explain how this behaviour makes you feel and to reset the boundaries. In a work context, this is best done in a one-on-one setting, but sharing your experience of mansplaining could have a positive impact on the culture of the whole organisation.
Bonus — Back em’ up!
When you see a mansplain happen to someone else, say something. When it happens to you, mansplaining can come as a shock or take a little while to recognise, that’s when a friend stepping in can help keep this behaviour in check.
At Verve we have set out to ensure every woman feels confident, supported and informed when making any financial decision. Because the responsibility to correct mansplaining shouldn’t be on women, we’re here to create a mansplaining free zone, one we hope will extend far beyond our four walls.
To help us spread the message share your mansplaining experience, particularly those related to money and the workplace, with us. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 799 482.
**Mansplaining: the explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronising.