“Never Depend on a Man for Money”
These are words told to me by a friend’s mother. She is no more, but had she lived, she would have been in her 70s. She said this to a group of us about 15 years ago. Wise words. She was quite content in her marriage but as a woman, she did not depend on her husband for her income.
The more I hear horror stories of women in abusive relationships, one of the key things you note is that many don’t want to / can’t move out coz of financial stability. They have no money of their own. My friend’s mother’s words are almost prophetic. Had these women been financially independent, they could have had a happy life on their own and given a stable home to their children. Yes abuse is rampant but it is not healthy, nor is it ok.
Financial independence is not something women have been traditionally taught to achieve. On the contrary, many were brought up to rely on a man for support – first their father or brothers and then their husbands. Sadly many women today are still like this though they have a guise of independence – driving vehicles, dressing in what they choose etc. However the car is paid for by the father or husband and they are inadvertently dependent on a man.
South Asian society almost condemns women who have their own money because it is seen as a threat to the man – rarely would you find a couple who is happy where the wife is earning more than the husband. The economic stability label has been the hallmark of most men and sadly without it, many feel inadequate. On the flip side, it also creates a power struggle – many couples have a dynamic where the man earns and the woman manages that income. This was the norm since many generations ago. However, in a day and age where one’s life is not as one dimensional as it used to be, having your own money is important. You aren’t dependent on someone and their generosity to survive. You don’t need to be earning all the time, if you have saved for a rainy day, you can always dip into that to do your own thing. Sharing responsibilities in terms of children is a different matter. But this is money for you, to do what you want with it without having to justify why you need it.
Many women complain that their husbands don’t understand why they need money for their own needs like getting their hair cut, their bodies groomed or just going out with friends and enjoying a meal or a drink. These issues won’t crop up if you have your own income or savings.
Many a time have I heard boasted tales of people claiming their wives, daughters and female relatives need not earn because they have been provided for. That’s all well and good to just talk. But in reality, any woman of any social strata, economic level or nationality, should be financially independent to lead the life she wants, regardless of her having a provider or not. Then when that rainy day hits, you have adequate coverage for the life you want. That is true independence.