Although we’ve progressed quite a lot, there is still (obviously) a long way to go when it comes to gender equality. And an important aspect of that is how women get to experience financial independence. And boy is there a lot to unpack about that!
There are countless statistics that show us that in some parts of the world, women are still, to this day, barred from the right to education and living a life of financial freedom.
But, even when a woman is able to fight through an unfair system and culture in order to go to school, to go to college, get that job and start earning, she’s often denied the freedom and individual agency that comes with being financially stable.
For instance, as Indian kids, specifically Indian women, many of us experience our parents keeping a stern check on our finances. There are frequent questions about whether or not we’re saving, if we’re saving enough. And as many memes as we make about this, we often witness raised eyebrows and frowns about the online shopping we do.
So here’s the thing, not only are earning women expected to be responsible and contribute to the household, but they’re also expected to hold back on spending on themselves. Which is bizarre, because, hello? That’s my hard-earned money after all.
It’s strange that as men get older, they’re gradually given more freedom to spend money however they please. But women are policed about how to spend money well into adulthood.
Yes, men are unfairly expected to be the breadwinners of the family, but ultimately, when they do start earning money, they’re given the space to make their own decisions about how to spend that money. Whereas women are put under the pressure of contributing to their household, without ever having the autonomy of making their own financial decisions.
True women empowerment is about women taking up space, in every way. Physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually AND financially. We can make our own decisions, especially about the money we’ve worked hard to earn.