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‘Feminist’ is a buzz word today but we all have our own definitions of feminism. Here are 4 key points that I think explain it best.
Having been a ‘feminist’ (yes I use the buzz word as well), I have redefined the meaning of the word over the last few years. Here is how I define a true feminist who embodies the principles of equality for all genders.
Sounds simple enough but you would be surprised at how many people do not own up to their expenses. Your bills include everything – rent, phone, car loan, education loan, housing, groceries. I come across people who are sailing through life because their phone bill is paid by someone in the family or they do not share equitable rent with their partners. If you want equal respect – earn it.
Saving up for a rainy day is probably the most important tenet. The way to true equality is through financial independence. Decide a % of your monthly salary that you believe you can save up (on average people target 10-15%). Unless an emergency arises – do NOT touch that money – and no, emergency does not include not owning that perfect dress for the party. Your hubby and parents are not your gateway to safety – you should be your own.
No, feminism is NOT all a bag of roses. You want to create some noise and want people to listen to you? Let your actions speak. Acknowledge the needs of your parents as they grow older and plan to stand by them financially and emotionally. Things change the day your parents hit 60 – they need you more than you needed them as kids.
Whether it is maintaining a safety net for medical emergencies of your parents or pampering them with trips they never took because of sacrifices they made – identify what your parents need the most and provide for them. With personal savings, leisure and responsibilities – you might find yourself crunching through the month. A few cuts in those luxury items might allow you to provide for them a little more, if not enough
Understand your finances in detail – including your salary slip and those little tax reductions you see. Research in the market for options to save and invest money. Look into your company’s policies to understand their retirement and medical policies.
It took me one year after I had started working post my Masters to understand my tax exemptions and other elements of my paycheck. I was shamed into understanding the details when a new employee looked at me for explanation. I have unfortunately seen many women rely on men in their lives to understand what to invest, how much to invest, how much to put in the retirement fund. It is great to have a subject matter resource – but start learning to be independent.
Overall, always ask yourself what if your shoulder to rely on was not a part of your life or not available – do you understand the shared responsibilities to execute them independently, if needed?
Image source: confident young woman by Shutterstock.
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