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The author believes that the only way for a woman to empower herself is through financial independence, when she can have a true choice in what she wants to do.
“There is no one who would guarantee you the security, financial independence, and the lifestyle you want except yourself” –Haisah Aisya Joohary
When I was a child, I saw my mom and many other women asking for money from their husbands for household expenses. My mom even used to save money here and there, from that allotted for other expenses, and buy things for herself and for us.
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Ever since, I have disliked the idea that a man is the one who pays the bill. I took it very seriously that I would never allow a man to use money as a power weapon. And I never have.
I can’t imagine having to ask for approval every time you want to buy anything for yourself. Even planning a birthday party or buying a gift for your husband with his own money feels somewhat awkward to me.
In India, a huge number of women are dependent on the male family members, be it their father or brother or husband. This is an ominous sign, as it points towards a lack of control over, and often an inability to manage their financial needs.
I started earning when I was still in school by taking tutions for my juniors. When I used to give my savings to my mom, it gave me immense pleasure and a sense of self worth. Very early I realized how much satisfaction you can get by paying for your own bills, buying things for yourself/your loved ones and also helping others at a time of need.
Empowerment means giving someone the ability to ‘control their life & claim their rights’. Now-a-days, a new debate has started on empowerment where many claim that for a woman, the right to choose whether she wants to work or be a housewife, is empowerment. Many women justify or rather convince themselves that it is OK to be a housewife, and they should not be judged on their choices. My question to them is- how are you empowered if you are not able to fulfill your own financial needs? This is of course, what I believe.
When women earn for themselves, they are promptly more in control of their lives. Financial independence is not only a source of confidence but also gives women the integrity to partake in essential matters of making decisions for themselves and their families.
A famous Chinese proverb says, “Give a woman a fish and you feed her for a day; teach a woman to fish and you feed her for a lifetime.”
A woman can reach the skies if she is empowered. The tremendous restraint on women’s monetary empowerment is family pressure, where her role gets compressed to an ideal mother, a perfect wife and daughter-in-law. Women give preference to domestic commitments over economic independence. According to studies, only 47% women continue working after having a child. What starts as a maternity break becomes a career break for so many women.
On one hand we are talking about girls’ education and women’s empowerment, and on the other hand we are restricting our use of that education. You and your parents have spent so much money, time and resources to educate you, don’t let it go waste. Never forget how much hard work you have put in to reach where you are today. You too have parents, and for supporting them in their needs, you should not be depending on your spouse.
When we talk about gender equality, it only comes when we as adults take care of ourselves fervidly, substantially and financially. One cannot trouble someone else with his/her responsibilities and financial needs. If you are unable to do so, then a relationship, be it marriage or motherhood, should wait.
According to reports, 70% of women in India face some form of domestic violence. Financial independence is extremely important for such women who live in abusive families. If they are dependent they have no option but to stay in the same house, which would incapacitate them from having a real choice.
It is a must for all women today to be financially independent whether they are single, married, widow or separated. You should be self-dependent and confident not only for you but for the position of women in Indian society, for your children who are watching you. A mother is a role-model for her children. Become an example for them to be inspired, and be self-sufficient and a source of inspiration for other women in society.
India needs independent, self-reliant and empowered women. It’s high time we understand the importance of girls’ education and women’s employment. The Government is also helping women by giving maternity leave of 6 months. Let us help each other and have full control of our life in our hands. Let us be meaningful contributors to the growth of the nation and nation-building.
“Work hard, make your own money, you will love it”.
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